Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I first had a version of aglio olio at Delicious Bangsar Village (way back when it was not a franchise and the food not overpriced). It came as Duck Confit Spaghettini with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Coriander, which is now one of its most famous item on the menu. I loved it for its simplicity and lightness.
Aglio olio is a simple pasta of no sauce and few ingredients. The basics are garlic and olive oil. Anything else is fair game. A little heat is good (dried chili, bird chili, chili flakes, chili oil, the possibilities are endless). It's a great vegetarian pasta and yet easily added with meat and/or seafood. I have cooked it with prawns and calamari, a piece of pan-seared cod fillet on top and beef bacon. To keep it vegetarian just replace the meat or sea produce with mushrooms.
For an Asian twist, onion, parsley and coriander can be included. When I have fresh basil on hand that will be tossed in too. Having served it to numerous friends and family, it seems to be everyone's favorite. I find dry pasta recipes work best with thin spaghettini, vermicelli or angel hair pasta although the traditional aglio olio is made with fettuccine. If the pasta is too dry add either more olive oil or a dash of the water used to cook the pasta.
This recipe is an approximate for two. I never really cook with exact measurements unless it's pastry or baking so do adjust according to your liking. If you fancy some tomatoes use sun-dried or cherry to keep it dry. I prefer cooking with white pepper. Black pepper is more for extra seasoning on the table.
- 1 cup onion sliced thinly or chopped finely
- 8 cloves garlic chopped finely (I personally like to just smash the cloves)
- 6 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 3 bird chilies
- 1 cup coriander chopped finely (stems included)
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped finely
- 1/2 cup basil (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups field button mushrooms sliced thinly
- 6 strips beef bacon
- angel hair, vermicelli, or spaghettini pasta portions for 2
- sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- more coriander for garnish
Put the pasta on to cook in boiling salted water.
Saute the onions and garlic until brown. Add the chilies and mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have browned add the beef bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Add the basil, parsley and coriander.
Transfer the pasta from boiling water directly to the pan of ingredients. Toss the pasta to incorporate the ingredients. If the pasta is too dry add some of the water used to boil the pasta. Serve immediately with some extra coriander.
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