Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spaghetti with Garlic Anchovy Oil and Toasted Breadcrumbs

It is difficult for me to spend a lot of time in the kitchen this time of year because I really want to be in the yard planting things and watching them grow.  I love watching the vegetables in the garden change daily, and my husband says that he feels like we have taken up residence at the plant nursery.  So when dinner time rolls around, I often have very little motivation to get in the kitchen for anything overly tasking or time-consuming.  What I really want are quick, satisfying meals ready in minutes which also yield leftovers for weekly lunches.  One solution?  Spaghetti with Garlic Anchovy Oil and Toasted Breadcrumbs.  

This dish is a variation on the classic Aglio e Olio.  It can be prepared in the time it takes to boil pasta, and it is simplicity at its best.  It is also the perfect meal to prepare when your pantry is dwindling.  The garlic permeates the oil without being overpowering, and the anchovies provide an indistinguishable depth of flavor.  The lemon adds a subtle tang while the chile flakes provide a nice kick.  The only thing that makes a bowl of carbs even better?  More carbs in the form of toasted breadcrumbs.  You can certainly leave these off, but I think they add an interesting texture to the pasta.  You can toast your own bread and process it or you can crush some leftover croutons as I did.  Just remember that a dish is only as good as its individual parts, especially when the dish is as simple as this one.  Use the best quality ingredients you have on hand.   

Spaghetti with Garlic Anchovy Oil and Toasted Breadcrumbs- serves 4
adapted from Bon App├ętit 

1/3 cup good quality olive oil plus more if necessary
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp anchovy paste
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp red chile flakes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs
1 lb spaghetti

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the spaghetti and cook until just tender.  Remove from the pot and strain.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil on medium low heat.  Add the garlic and anchovy paste stirring to blend the paste with the olive oil.  Cook 2 minutes until the garlic is beginning to color.  Add the lemon juice and zest along with the chile flakes.  Cook 1 minute more.  Toss the spaghetti with the olive oil sauce and grated cheese.  If the pasta soaks up the sauce too quickly, add a drizzle of oil to finish.  Serve topped with toasted breadcrumbs

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