Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heat Wave Spaghetti

The other day the heat index was approaching 110 degrees and the sky was that tornadoey yellow-green color that is always a bit alarming. A somewhat brief dog walk around the neighborhood resulted in my shirt clinging to my back with sweat (gross) so I quickly proclaimed it an inside day after that.

After I spent the day not moving and not cooking, instead consuming peaches, cheez-its, kalamata olives, cereal, and frozen yogurt, I thought it was time to be resourceful and actually make something for dinner. I had this great spicy Capicola ham I had used as part of a cheese platter earlier in the week, bunches of fresh basil in the garden, and a few other ingredients I figured would compliment both.

The cooking here is minimal which was the whole point. A quick boil of the pasta, some olive oil warmed enough to make it aromatic with the garlic and ham, and the rest tossed together is all it takes. I was eating good in about 15 minutes. The golden raisins may seem an odd touch but they elevate the dish and work well with the savory flavors.

For 2 main dish servings:
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine or sherry
  • 8 ounces whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 thin slices hot Capicola ham
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves + 8-10 small basil leaves for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
  • Shavings of Parmesan, to taste

In a small bowl, combine the raisins and marsala or sherry. Set aside to soak. Boil the pasta until just al dente. While the pasta is boiling, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when warm, add the garlic and capicola. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the red pepper flakes. Cook for a couple minutes, then add the raisins, along with the marsala or sherry. Keep the oil warm over low heat until the pasta is cooked.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot it was cooking in over medium heat. Pour the oil mixture over the pasta and toss to coat. Add in the 2 cups of basil leaves and toss the pasta until the basil is wilted, about a minute or two. Season it with freshly ground black pepper and another pinch of salt if necessary.

Pour the pasta onto a serving platter. Scatter the pine nuts and small basil leaves over the top. Shave some parmesan over each serving.

1 comment:

Amateur Cook said...

I was visiting family in Melbourne last January - and boy was it hot! The wind was searing as well and offered no relief what so ever from the parching sun. As uncomfortable as it was, we just had to brave it and go out and (try) to enjoy ourselves. At the end of the day, we also preferred food produced with minimal cooking.