Much to my husband’s chagrin, I love garlic. It goes in nearly every main dish I make . . . sometimes in greater quantities then others. And one dish that I love to make is aglio e olio. It’s a classic Italian pasta that combines just cooked garlic, olive oil and pasta in a wonderful symphony of flavor.
I first tried aglio e olio as a child when my friend, Allison, and her family took me with them to their favorite pizza joint in our hometown of Poughkeepsie, NY. Little did I know that this pasta that I raved, ad nausum, about was actually a simple and very inexpensive dish that can be made in minutes at home. As an aside though, I don’t recommend serving it to company . . .
Now about the garlic, garlic is good for you (ha! my husband needs to read this) and also packs a flavor punch.
In any case, as far as health goes, garlic is one of those things with an array of health benefits. here’s a smattering:
- Garlic can reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia and raise the birthweight of babies during pregnancy, studies say.
- Garlic can reduce cholesterol levels.
- It’s a powerful antiseptic.
Ways to Use:
- Raw: Garlic used raw has a spicy or hot flavor. It can be used whole, sliced, minced, crushed, etc.
- Cooked: Cooked garlic has a milder flavor and loses it’s antiseptic properties, but it does add nice flavoring to dishes. It can be used whole, sliced, minced, crushed, etc.
How it Grows:
Like onions and shallots, garlic is a root. Cloves are planted in the fall shortly before the first winter frost and begin to grow in the spring. By mid July, they are ready for harvesting. The cloves then have to be dried out before storing in a warm, dry place. For a great tutorial on the whole process, check out Virtual Seeds.
There are many products on the market to facilitate the storage of garlic. Here are a few of the ones I located (I cannot vouch for any of the sellers, I simply posted links to some of the more interesting containers out there):
- Garlic Pot/$7.95 – basic crock
- Garlic Storage Jar/$19.95 – handpainted jar
- Vampire Garlic Jar/$9.99 – cute styled jar
- Provencal Garlic Jar/$32.00 - simple, with a natural cork stopper
- Polish Stoneware Garlic Crock/$54.95 – beautiful design
Now, onto the recipe.
Aglio e Olio
1/3 cup olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 lb pasta, cooked
1/3 cup parsley, chopped, or 1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
shredded Romano cheese
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in chopped garlic and cook, stirring frequently until just golden brown…do not let it get any darker than that or it will lose it’s flavor.
Toss garlic/oil mixture with pasta and stir in parsley, salt and pepper. Top with cheese, if desired.
Check out Kalyn’s Kitchen later tonight for a round up of great recipes and posts as part of Kalyn’s weekly Weekend Herb Blogging event.