Lidia Bastianich’s Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic

I was very fortunate to meet the Head Chef of one of Lidia Bastianich’s New York City restaurants, Felidia. Chef Fortunato Nicotra showed me how to make a simple and delicious Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic. You can watch that episode here: http://www.njonair.com/videos/entertainment/jessica-episode-4/ and try the recipe below!

“Traditionally, this recipe is made by sautéing garlic in oil with some pepperoncino as you see below, but I combine the sauce ingredients in a blender – or using an immersion blender – to yield a creamier sauce with a less intense garlic flavor.  It might require a few more tries at home, but with practice, this dish will certainly become a family favorite.  And when you start to get more comfortable with the technique, you can add vegetables to the mix as well.  In this demo, I added zucchini.”

Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic:

Serves 6

Kosher salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

¼ teaspoon pepperoncino flakes, or more to taste

1 pound dried spaghetti

1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano

¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.  In the meantime, in a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat.  Scatter in the garlic, and cook, making sure it doesn’t burn, until softened and pale golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Season with salt and the pepperoncino.

Begin cooking the pasta.  Ladle ½ cup pasta cooking water into a blender, and add the garlic oil and half of the grated Grana Padano.  Blend until smooth, then add the parsley.  Pour into a large skillet.  When the pasta is al dente, remove with tongs to the skillet.  Sprinkle with the remaining grated Grana Padano.  Toss to coat the pasta in the sauce, adding a little more of the pasta cooking water if it seems dry.  When plating use the tongs to twirl the pasta into the shape of a bird’s nest.  This will keep the pasta warmer and make for an attractive presentation.  You can also remove the pasta with a large serving fork and twist it into a bird’s nest using a ladle, then place it in the pasta bowl.  Set the ladle into the pot with the dressed pasta.  With a chef’s fork start filling the ladle with the spaghetti and start twisting until it is twisted around the fork.  Remove the ladle and fork the twisted pasta into the center of a plate and gently guide onto the plate.