Happy Boxing Day! I hope you all had a great time spending Christmas with your loved ones. And did Santa Claus gave you the Christmas present you've always wanted? (;
I'm gonna share this really quick and easy recipe: Aglio e Olio. The basic Aglio e Olio requires 4 ingredients - spaghetti, olive oil, lots of garlic and chili padi / chili flakes. This dish, I would say, is a double-edged sword - easy to make, but also easy to screw it up.
This dish definitely requires a little practice, but once you've mastered the skills, the variations are endless and it's a definite crowd-pleaser.
Some key points I've discovered while making a good Aglio e Olio are:
- Use well-salted water to cook the spaghetti - this is a light dish with not much seasoning, hence it is essential the spaghetti tastes a little salty. Tip from NoobCook!
- Use sufficient olive oil - too little and the dish will be dry and hard to swallow, too much and the dish will be too queasy to digest.
- Use lots and lots of garlic, and cook them to golden-brown perfection. They must be cooked very, very gently in oil so they will release their flavours and turn to a nice golden brown colour. Burnt garlic is yucky!
This is by far the best Aglio e Olio I've ever made (I've made countless plates of Aglio e Olio before this and X was the unlucky victim... haha), but I'm still in search of ways to make the Aglio e Olio even better! So do share if you have some tips on making a good Aglio e Olio k? I'll try it out and share it with everyone (:
Happy Boxing Day once again! Have a great day (:
I've omitted the chili padi (actually I forgot to add them..), added prawns and parsley and served it with a pan-fried egg with runny yolk. Yum yum!
Aglio e Olio with Fresh Prawns (serve 2)
180 grams spaghetti
7 tablespoon olive oil
3 huge garlic cloves, diced finely
1 chili padi, seeds removed and sliced thinly (optional)
10 large prawns (if the prawns are small, use more prawns),
de-shelled and de-veined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly chopped parsley to serve
Fill a pot with water (about 1 litre). Add in 1 tablespoon of table salt to season the water. When the water is boiling, add in the spaghetti. Stir the spaghetti occasionally to prevent them from sticking to each other.
When the spaghetti is cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over low heat. Add in the diced garlic and let them cook gently, stirring frequently. When the garlic is turning a light golden brown, push the garlic aside (away from the heat source) and add in the chili padi (if using) and prawns. Cook gently until the prawns are pink in colour on one side. Flip the prawns and continue cooking till pink throughout and thoroughly cooked. Take care not to let the garlic burn! Remove the frying pan from the heat.
By now, the spaghetti should be al dente - do a taste test and see if it's the consistency you like. Scoop out some pasta water and drain the pasta. Immediately add the pasta in to the frying pan with the garlic, prawns and chili padi. Add in the chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the pasta and the other ingredients together, adding a little pasta water if necessary to moisten the dish (you wouldn't want to flood the pasta!) and taste to see if it needs additional seasoning. Scoop the pasta and the prawns into serving plates and serve immediately.
- To cook an aglio e olio, prepare everything before starting to cook. The garlic requires a lot of attention so it may be difficult to multi-task while cooking the garlic.
- A rule that I used when cooking pasta for aglio e olio: 1 litre of water to 1 tablespoon of table salt. This will salt the pasta well and most of the time I didn't need to add additional salt to the overall dish. Do note that this rule applies only for aglio e olio dishes! Other pasta dishes I'll only use ½ tablespoon of table salt.
- I'm not a huge fan of chili so this dish is not very spicy (plus I always removed the chili seeds, which is the main source of heat for chili). If you like the dish to be extra hot, do use more chilli than specified.
- The most important thing: trial and error! My pasta requires about 8-10 minutes to cook, so I started to cook the garlic only after I added the pasta into the hot water. If your pasta requires a longer time to cook, start cooking the garlic later and vice versa. If the garlic is already cooked but the pasta is not ready, remove the frying pan from the heat and reheat the garlic gently when the pasta is almost cook.