Tag Archives: olio d’oliva

A Summer Take on Italy Most Classic Garlic Dish

Aglio, Olio and Pommodorini

Aglio, olio e pepperoncino (garlic, olive oil and hot pepper) is one of the most sincere and dangerous pasta dishes. Dangerous because so many people shy away from garlic and even I shy away from the hottest of the hot stuff. But also perilous because in its simplicity to make and to devour, a plate of spaghetti doused with these two ingredients lightly simmered in olive oil can tempt more than more complex and expensive pastas.

Simmering Aglio Olio and Pepperoncino

I’m always hesitant to mess with near perfection, but in the summer there’s always another ingredient laying there, calling to you. The heat makes risk taking just that much easier.

Slow-baked tomatoes ready to jump

My friend Fabrizio C was playing with fire a few days ago (and only our tongues got slightly singed). Piccadilly and datterini tomatoes had come into their own on the Abruzzo coast when he invited a dozen friends over to his terrace for dinner. His twist was adding slow-baking breaded piccadilly cherry tomatoes (to dry them out a bit) at the end off the garlic, hot pepper and oil process.

Mixing it up

Slowly baking (about 45 minutes) and breading tomatoes dried them out while keeping just the right amount of juice and sweetness in to keep them slightly chewy but not as much as the al dente durum wheat pasta in which they were hiding.

Friends, tomatos and pepperoncino

This being summer we followed up with local vegetables – roast sweet peppers and above all some of the last great fresh fava beans of the Summer (to be eaten right out of the pod and accompanied by good pecorino cheese) as we washed it all down with some of this years Pecorino white and rich Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo rosè wines from the valleys between Pescara and Sulmona. The wine kept our conversation and appetite for summer dinners growing well into the night.

Friends, tomatos and pepperoncino

For those of you reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, it was first published on carbonara.wordpress.com


Aglio, olio and pomodorini

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Want to try making aglio olio and peperoncino and don’t want to look for it on the web? My first and favourite guide is “The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating” by Marcella Hazan. My hitchiker’s guide to Italian food.

Roast peppers

Also my friend Eleonor’s blog http://www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com/ is inspired.

Garlic on FoodistaGarlic

Rosemary’s nose

The quick basics of Italian cooking: keep it simple and care intensely about the ingredients. Try to get them fresh and in season unless the preservation method makes them something better (sun dried tomatoes, for example, or spicy artichoke hearts or salt cod, the list a mouth watering few). I learned my first year here as a college exchange student in Bologna that one of the easiest ways to impress dinner guests is is baked potatoes and rosemary.
But you need fresh rosemary. Rosemary is a brush-like wooden herb that grows well even in cold corners of walls and outside windowsill pots. It’s a compulsory ingredient in Easter roast lamb and other early Spring dishes all over Italy, but especially in the mountains and the hills. Here around L’Aquila many people have a bush growing in a corner of their yard.
Cut the potatoes thin – whatever potatoes you like. I like them razor thin but have been known to cut them into thicker disks with the skins still on.  Spread it out over oven paper or a pan slightly greased with olive oil. Sprinkle more olive oil, salt and a couple handfuls of fresh rosemary twigs. Bake away until they look as crispy as you like them. Open the oven a crack occasionally to free up the aroma of baked rosemary to fill the kitchen and tease the the dinner guests who are keeping you company. Bring them to the table warm, making sure that the plate gets passed around under everyone’s nose.
And if it smells good, it tastes good.