Aglio Olio Pasta is one of my favorite types of pasta because it is lighter on the stomach and yet so flavorful. While I don't mind my pasta in tomato or creamy sauce, I especially like Aglio Olio because it leaves some space in your tummy for seconds, sides or best of all desserts. Tiramisu is my all time fav of desserts. Haven't had a slice of Tiramisu for quite some time. ( My friends in SG - you know now what to get for me when I am there for vacation in June!! )
Aglio Olio means Garlic and Oil in Italian and this is one dish that you can cook with minimum ingredients. I am always on the lookout for dishes with minimal ingredients and yet flavorful and healthy. Just makes our lives a lot easier, doesn't it?
Some tips when cooking Aglio Olio
1) Pasta should be cooked in above normal salted water to add overall flavor.
2) Do not add oil when cooking the pasta as this will prevent the pasta from absorbing the salt.
3) Pasta has to be al dente and not under or over cooked.
4) Reserve some pasta water to bind the ingredients and the starch in the water will give a smoother finish to the dish.
5) Because you are working with minimum ingredients, the quality of the ingredients are utmostly important. Use fresh ingredients and good quality EVOO.
6) Authentic Aglio Olio is plain but it is now quite popular to add in vegetables to make it a complete meal.
Ingredients( for 4)
3 tbsps EVOO
4 servings of pasta , boiled aldente in salted water according to box instructions.
Keep 1/2 cup pasta water.
1 whole bulb garlic, peeled and pounded ( If you love the taste and the heavenly aroma of garlic -you can increase to 2 bulbs)
1 medium zucchini washed, cut into half and sliced thin
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 and half red bird's eye chili ( reduce if you prefer less spicy), sliced thin
Peel and pound the whole bulb of garlic. It is essential that you use this amount of garlic to enhance the flavor of Aglio Olio.
Take a big pot and start frying the garlic in olive oil. Watch the pot to ensure the garlic does not get burnt.
Then add in the sliced bird's eye chilli and fry for another 2 minutes.
Add in the sliced mushrooms and zucchini. Toss in some salt at this juncture.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add in the boiled pasta and let it absorb the flavor of the garlic. If you find it too dry, add in some pasta water - 2 tbsp should be enough. Check for seasonings.
Serve immediately with delicious Broccoli in Baked Potatoes ( My next post), Roasted Vegetables or Roasted Rosemary Potatoes.