Some 20 years ago I went on a cruise with my Auntie Ann through the Caribbean. It was a terrific time. We met some great people, drank an amazing amount of alcohol, did some crazy things, and most importantly ate a lot of great food.
It was our first (and only) cruise, but we hooked up early with some well experienced sailors. One couple in particular took back-to-back cruises, several times a year, and knew the ropes. One of the things that stuck with me, was their nerve to ask the chef to prepare food for them that was not on the ubiquitous set-menu that a person saw on cruises at the time. The chef complied.
One of their requests was spaghetti served with nothing more than olive oil, garlic, and freshly grated parmigiana as a side dish. So simple. So delicious. Ever since then, I’ve cooked it up regularly for Michael and I. The recipe is:
Olive Oil (several good and generous glugs and then a bit more)
Chopped Garlic (as much or as little as you like – tonight we used up two full heads (not cloves, heads) of those small sad Safeway garlics you find withering away in produce)
Sauté the garlic in the olive oil CAREFULLY so it doesn’t burn.
Toss with the cooked and drained spaghetti (do I really have to say drain the spaghetti? Do I? Well, I won’t take chances. If you went through the trouble of peeling and chopping up all that garlic, please, drain the spaghetti). Add as much grated parmigiana as you like.
It should look something like this:
This is a terrific side-dish to chicken. I didn’t take a pic of the chicken, because, as Michael says, who wants to look at a piece of dead bird. The chicken was indeed dead, breast removed and cooked in olive oil, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Now, you are probably looking at that picture and thinking, “Hm, there is bits of red in that there spaghetti”, and you are right!
Friend Roxanne recently posted a recipe for “Spaghetti, Italian Style”. It’s a variation of the above, by adding cherry (I added grape) tomatoes in with the garlic, and a healthy bunch of pecorino cheese (I stuck with the parmigiana only because I invested a mighty sum of cash into the large wedge in the fridge). I was inspired by her post, and melded our two recipes together. Really, the thing is, you don’t need a recipe. Just toss stuff together until it looks like something you’d eat. Afterall, there will be as many versions of this dish as there are Italian hand gestures.