Somehow I managed to spend most of this day thinking it was Saturday. Which is really ironic, that I thought it was basically everybody's favorite day of the week, when it was actually what is known universally as everyone's least favorite day of the week. I think it's just being in the thick of the summer break, I'm all backwards!
Anyway, now that I am back in the realm of Monday, I have this great recipe to share. And it is as great a Monday recipe as any other day. I love spaghetti with garlic and oil. It's one of those life's simple pleasures kind of dishes. Minimal ingredients yielding extraordinary results, in not a lot of time. Well I decided to Guild the Lily, so to speak and add a few extra things, like artichokes, Genoa salami and toasted pine nuts to the traditional Aglio e Olio.
Let's just take a second to talk about the Genoa Salami component of this dish. Okay? So I decided I would thinly slice it and render it crisp, like bacon or pancetta. All I can say is, "Why on earth don't I see this being done in the food world more often?!?". It is incredibly delicious, I mean, everyone says bacon makes it better, but I declare to you here tonight that crisp Genoa salami makes it better too!
Okay, now that I got that out of my system, we can move along now...
There is a lot of garlic in this recipe... a lot. But don't be scared because most of it you cook down for about 10 minutes until it's very mellowed out. Then I stir in just a bit more raw garlic after the pasta is cooked and I'm giving everything a final toss. So yeah, it's garlicky, but it's not like punch you in the face garlicky (if you get my meaning by that??). And it is pasta with garlic and oil, so I guess you'd have to be a fan of the stinking rose to want to make this dish in the first place. Enjoy!
Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil (Aglio e Olio) with Artichokes, Crisped Salami and Pine Nuts
makes 4-6 servings
kosher salt & pepper
1/3 c. pine nuts
3-4 oz. thinly sliced Genoa salami, sliced into thin strips and separated with your fingers (they tend to stick together)
6 T. plus 1 t. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 T. finely minced garlic, divided
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 lb. frozen, quartered artichoke hearts, thawed and drained well
3 T. lemon juice
1/3 c. minced fresh parsley
1. Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add about 1 T. of kosher salt and spaghetti. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pasta is al dente (according to package directions), drain, reserving about 1/2 c. of the starchy pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and set aside while preparing the remaining ingredients.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add pine nuts and toast, watching them carefully as they can burn extremely easy. When lightly toasted, remove pine nuts from skillet and set aside. Return pan to heat, add 1 t. oil and salami. Cook stirring often, separating the strips, until the salami is crisp and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour out the rendered fat from the skillet and wipe out with paper towels.
3. Return the skillet to the burner, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add 3 T. oil, 2 1/2 T. of the minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently until the garlic is sticky and straw-colored, about 10 minutes. Scrape the garlic and oil into a small bowl. Return the skillet to the burner and increase the heat to high. Add 1 T. oil, the thawed artichokes and 1/4 t. kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes are well browned (adjusting the heat as necessary) about 6 minutes.
4. To the drained pasta, add the browned artichokes, cooked garlic and oil, remaining 1/2 T. raw garlic, remaining 2 T. olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, parsley, salami and pine nuts. Add in the reserved pasta cooking water as necessary if the dish is lacking moisture. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.