This pasta-crazy gal is back! Let not my usage of the tongue-twisting, yet poetic Italian verbage intimidate you from making this pasta. Nor let the verdant green deter you from eating it! Simply put, aglio e olio is just olive oil infused with freshly pressed garlic. In my case, I also added fresh parsley and red chilli flakes,to extra virgin olive oil. A delicious and versatile condiment which can be used as a dipping oil, as a simple marinade or just tossed with pasta and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Yummo!
I took mine to a notch above by incorporating a spinach-almond pesto. Just to add some fresh color and vitamins from the fresh spinach leaves. It’s one of the ways I can get my little daughter to get to eat her greens! And the only form she actually loves to her spinach! Yes, California almonds are the in thing in my home-cooked meals this season. So a really clean-tasting and subtle pesto, no cheese, thus figure-friendly and flavourful at the same time. Plus, just a small food processor to do most of the work for you. Easy-peasy! Feel free to substitute with whole wheat pasta too. Feel free to add any kind of meat or veggies too, as add-ons. Very versatile, in any way you please. Personally, I loved the marriage between the angel hair pasta, which is slightly thinner than spaghetti, and the pesto. Just that, along with the flavour-infused olive oil aka aglio e olio. And a wee-bit sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or any cheese which makes you happy!:-)
Fresh spinach leaves – 4 cups
Raw almonds – 10-12, soaked in water for a few hours
Milk – 1/4 cup
Extra virgin olive oil – 1/4 cup
Garlic – 2-3 cloves, finely chopped or pressed
Freshly chopped parsley – 1 tbsp.
Red chilli flakes, as your taste buds desire
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese – 1 tbsp. Or whichever cheese floats your boat. In my case, I picked up a basil-pesto flavoured Gouda cheese from our local Trader Joe’s which I used
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the aglio e olio- add garlic, parsley and red chilli flakes to the extra virgin olive oil. Mix well and set aside
Remove skins of almonds. In a small food processor, grind almonds along with milk, to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
Blanch spinach leaves – bring a pot of water to a boil. Add spinach and turn the heat off. Drain the spinach with ice cold water, to retain the bright green colour. Purée in the same food processor. Mix the spinach purée with the almond paste and the pesto is ready.
Cook the pasta. Angel hair pasta takes only about 4 minutes to cook, since it is so fine.
Heat a non stick skillet on medium to low heat. Add the aglio e olio. Stir making sure the garlic does not burn. Add the spinach pesto, sauté for a minute. Toss the pasta in, mix well.
Sprinkle the cheese, if you please and serve 🙂