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:
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.