Friday, February 24, 2012

Garlic and Oil Pasta (Aglio Et Olio) with Asparagus


The first time I heard about Aglio Et Olio was when Rachael Ray was telling everyone that it was her all time favorite style pasta dish.  Then I later saw Giadia De Laurentiis making it.  So if two pretty famous cooks/chefs could love this dish... it was worth exploring. I bought the tin of anchovies and set out to make the pasta. They were both right, I loved it.  Even my kids ate it... Yes... anchovies and all.  Rachael Ray always tells people to give anchovies a chance in pasta dishes because it literally melts away into the olive oil and it makes this fragrant and nutty sauce.   She is right folks.   I decided to go for it with my own spin and add asparagus and some grape tomatoes. It was still just as good and you can change it up by adding broccoli, peas, zucchini or bell peppers etc.... The oil, anchovies and garlic proves to be a wonderful canvas that you can make into several different masterpieces.

1lb of pasta cooked in salt water until al dente
1 (2oz) tin of anchovies in olive oil
1/3 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1lb of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces and partially steamed
1 pint of grape tomatoes or a large tomato diced
1 bunch of scallions sliced (whites and green separated)
1 small handful of fresh parsley chopped
1-2 Tbs of fresh garlic minced well  (about 5-6 large cloves)
1 tsp of red chili flakes
Salt and pepper as needed

Step 1: cook your pasta and partially steam your asparagus.
Step 2:  In a large pan on medium low heat add the extra virgin olive oil and the entire tin of anchovy fillets(I do not use the oil in the tin).  When the anchovies start to dissolve into the oil add your minced garlic and chili flakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the partially steamed asparagus next and increase the heat to medium.  Saute the asparagus for a minute.  Then add your grape tomatoes and whites of the scallions. Cook for another minute or two. 

Finally add your cooked pasta and parsley then toss with all the other ingredients. Salt if necessary (but the anchovies will provide plenty of salt). Serve immediately.  Garnish with the greens of the scallions.  Enjoy.

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