In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Second Post - Flavorful Pasta: Packs a punch like a meal

Hey! So tonight is one of those nights where I'd be really tempted to pour myself a bowl of cereal and chow down, but I'm low on milk, and I'd cry if I didn't have enough for my breakfast tomorrow. My quiet breakfasts of coffee, cereal and a good book are kind of my kick-start for my day. But I digress.

This is one of those meals that I save up for nights like these. It's a mock-alfredo that can be made with minimal effort.

Set water to boiling in a moderately sized pot. Sprinkle salt in the water if that's your thing. I'm German, so salt and butter are kinda like foodgroups for us.

While your water is heating up, get out the other things you'll need:
~1 cup pasta (any kind. Really. I like pasta primavera because it seems like it would have more nutrients in it than your average pasta, and because it's pretty. But that's just me.)
~Parmesan/Romano/Grated Cheese
~One egg
~Spices: I like oregano and basil
~Olive oil
~1 clove garlic

Any time left, wash your face, lay out your clothes for the next day, surf FaceBook, whatever.
When the water is rolling, dump in the pasta. Stir around, leave a wooden spoon in the pot with it so it won't boil over. This just works. Trust me. Now go back to YouTube or whatever you were doing. Kill time for 10 minutes, because that's how long the pasta will take. Peel your eyes off the latest puppy video every so often to stir your pasta so it doesn't stick.

After the pasta is done to the doneness you prefer, drain it (I like to drain the water directly into the bowl I'm going to serve it in. It heats the bowl for you. Just please don't burn yourself or break your dish with the temperature change. I warn, because I'm good at injuring myself during inocuous household tasks).

Stir in a bit of olive oil to keep it from congealing, and spice it up with oregano and basil. I love pulverizing the spices in my hands before putting them in. I think it makes them more aromatic.


About garlic. I recently discovered that garlic's spiciness varies based on how you cook it. Some of you might find this to be a duh-ism, but this is news to me, coming from a family that didn't cook much with garlic. I was recently at a Cuban restaurant in New San Juan, and we were served the most delicious garlic bread. It was extremely hot (as in spicey). I asked the waiter what the bread was seasoned with. "Ajo," I was told. "Y..." I prompted. "Ajo. Solamente ajo." Got it. Just garlic. Turns out, it was fairly raw garlic, which made the bread really hot. I experimented with garlic in this pasta to see if I could garner the same effect. It is so. If you want your garlic to spice up your pasta, wait and add it right at the very end. If you want it cooked some to sweeten it, mix it in with the oil as mentioned above.


So whether or not you've added garlic at this point is up to you, but let's move on to the egg, shall we? Put the pot back on the heat for a moment or so to get the oil hot. Take it off the heat, and crack the egg into the pasta. Directly in. Mix it around with your spoon a bit. Now, add copious amounts of cheese. It should mix with the egg and make a nice creamy sauce. If you want, put it back on the stove for a moment, stirring it around, savoring the aromas, letting it all meld.

Pour in the pre-heated bowl, and serve with a glass of wine. The nice thing about this recipe is that a lot of wines go beautifully with it.

I'm eating mine tonight with a Spanish shiraz-tempranillo (Berberana vineyards). After a blind-taste, I'd say this: The old-world earthiness comes through as velvety and rich. It has ripe strawberry undertones. It pairs well with the pasta, and heats up the spice of the garlic wonderfully. It's just tannic enough, also, to cut the richness of the faux-alfredo. The salt in the pasta (should you choose to add more, as I do) brings out the berry flavors of the wine. All in all, a happy pair.

And that, my friends, beats a bowl of cereal.

Yours in the love of relaxing with good food and wine in one's tummy,

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.