Why, yes, it is another elbow-pasta recipe masquerading as something you'd pay 12 times the rate for at a hip-and-happening resto-bistro-cafe-place. Brace yourselves, for hyphenated words are coming your way. My pro-bono food-stylist/best-friend/food-photographer and my overseas boyfriend have often sighed at my lack of ingenuity when it comes to using this particular kind of pasta for my recipes. But here's the real reason why - the elbow-pasta is as versatile as it is easy on the pocket. Sure, your fusili, your penne and your tagliatalle are prettier to look at (especially on a self-claimed website helping you survive urban hunger), but remember, it's the pasta inside that really matters, not the pasta outside.
Isn't it lovely how I can turn even pasta into a positive body image metaphor without making you question just how many calories you're putting into your body? Anyway, this aglio e olio recipe uses ingredients that you might find pretty easily in your local sabzi-mandi and supermarket. Who knows, maybe if you subscribed to my site, I might be able to actually put in an effort to help you plan your grocery list for the month? Dare I say, even create a meal plan?
6-8 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
4 tbsp oil (regular sunflower oil will do)
2 tsp chilli flakes (now you know what to do with those sachets of chilli flakes you've collected and hoarded)
2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup coriander (roughly chopped, torn, ripped, you get the idea)
salt to taste
1 cup pasta
2 cups water
1 tbsp oil
cheese (optional, but highly recommended)
shredded chicken/ sliced sausages/ cubed paneer (optional but just go crazy, who's to stop you?)
- Add a large pinch of salt to your water and put it to boil. The salt will help bring the water to a boil much faster. YEAH, SCIENCE B****!
- Add 1 tbsp of oil to the boiling water and then drop your pasta in, stirring occasionally. (Not like a crazy maniac with a power tool instead of an arm.) Your pasta should be perfectly cooked (and not starchy mush) in about 8 - 9 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- While you're waiting on the pasta to boil, heat oil in a kadhai and drop your sliced garlic in. Toast the garlic on a low heat until the slices turn a lovely golden brown, the colour of every strawberry blonde man you've had a crush on through your teenage years. (Yes, low heat. No, not medium heat. Yes, I'm sure. No, you won't cook it faster on medium or high heat, I've tried it and I ended up with bitter, burnt garlic.) Once your garlic is toasted and crispy, add in your optional proteins (chicken/ sausage / paneer) and let them soak in the flavour of the oil and garlic.
- While your garlic toasts gently, scenting your kitchen-space with the heady aroma of savoury goodness, toss your chilli flakes and pepper into your drained pasta and mix it just enough to ensure that every little elbow has a hit of heat.
- Pour in the oil and toasted garlic (and your optionals) into your pasta and mix well. Season with salt as per your taste.
- Add your coriander right at the end and mix well. Yep, this dish is mostly all about patience and assembly.
- Grate some cheese over your pasta and dig in!
PS - The Italians and French would consider this blasphemous, but luckily we're Indian, so there's always room for some delicious jugaad in the way of drizzling over some White Sauce over this dish. Gives you a valid reason for licking the bowl clean.