Sunday, March 13, 2011

My nothing pasta

So here's a little something you should know about me; I'm currently broke, I know it may not look it since I'm cooking so much, but actually I'm mostly using super cheap ingredients, flour, for instance, costs 25 cents, so that I can afford. Well not really, but I gotta have something, and flour is extra useful since it's usually time-consuming as well as tasty.

But, I did get lucky, I had to move twice in the past month, and both flats had great roommates, with a very nice policy on sharing food: everything is everyones. Now, don't think I'm stealing my roommates' food, but it did give me access to some things I couldn't afford, or just wouldn't buy for a period of less than a month, such as spices or olive oil, which cost quite a bit.

So I had to make do with what I got, and so I made this pasta, which pretty much contains only the most basic things that are always around, such as garlic, onions and olive oil.
Now I know, it has a name: Aglio e Olio, but that's just one of those things on the menu you never order, cause why would you? It has nothing in it! But no, I've discovered it could actually one of the best things, and very quick in case that's good for you.
So I'm going to give the very basic recipe, and some variations, cause every time I make this one a bit differently, depending on what else I got lying around (and does not necessarily belong to my roommates!).

Basic ingredients:

- Pasta, I usually use spaghetti or linguine.
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed.
- 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced.
- 1 ts of sugar.
- Dried chili.

Now, here comes the rest, I wouldn't recommend making this pasta without any of the additions, but you can choose which ever and how many of them you like.

- Basil.
- Parsley (flat-leaved, I don't recognize the other kind as parsley)
- Pumpkin seeds/walnuts/pine-nuts (just something to give it a little crunch)
- Zucchini/broccoli/squash (I know neither of these count as 'nothing' but still, you usually have something lying around, but really, you can do without it)
- Breadcrumbs (best to coat the roasted veggies with it).


In case you're using any of the vegetables, this would be the time to prepare them:
For broccoli, just cook it in boiling salted water for 5 minutes.
For zucchini or squash, slice into thin stripes (dice the squash), cover with olive oil, add some herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, anything will do, i'm just trying to keep this recipe nothingy) and put in a 200C oven for about 15 minutes, it doesn't need to be very soft.

- Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large saucepan, add the dried chili (always toast dried spices - brings out the flavor). Meanwhile start cooking the pasta.

- Add the onions and sugar, stir and let it brown.
- Lower the heat a bit and add the garlic, you don't want it to burn.

This is basically it. You can turn off the stove, and just mix in what you added, be it the veggies, nuts or fresh herbs. It's ready.

Here's my most recent version, with breaded zucchini, pumpkin seeds, basil and parsley.

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