Author Notes: The thing about a dirt cheap recipe is that it has to be as satisfying, as fulfilling as any other and while cheap it must be pleasing. Unless you feel like you've gotten a great deal, like this is something you'd happily eat again and again without thinking of the money, somehow, in my mind, the recipe fails. And for no reason I can think of, it should be efficient. Dirt cheap and lightning quick and the deal of the century ;) Any number of peasant foods can work for this, from boiled potatoes and polenta to ratatouille, but I have a special love for spaghetti aglio olio. It is sumptuous but completely unpretentious. The garlic poached in olive oil is elegant no matter what. The hint of heat from the peperoncino gives it life. The tiny amount of minced parsley gives it springtime. My addition are anchovies, for their discreet umami quality, the body they add to this dish, and because they nutritiously (sorry for the pious word!) replace salt and parmeggiano. I love parmeggiano, but it just glops up this simple, graceful, gratifying classic. Hope you all enjoy it! —nogaga
pound whole wheat spaghetti
tablespoons extra virgen olive oil (plus a sixth, just in case
nice, fat cloves of garlic
pili pili pepper
red wine, whatever you've got
- Pour yourself a glass of decent red wine.
- Boil the spaghetti as per package instructions in abundant salted water. If it is whole wheat, this will most likely take between 8 and 10 minutes/
- In a large skillet gently heat the 5 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 anchovy filets-- gentle is a key word here. You just want the anchovies to begin to disintegrate.
- Mash, peal and mince the garlic. Add the to skillet along with the crumbled pili pili peper and muddle. Again, keep the heat low. The idea is to poach the garlic, aromatize the oil and heat the pepper, nothing more.
- Finely mince the parsley.
- When your pasta is al dente, turn off the heat under your garlicky skillet and lift the spaghetti, along with its drips and drops of pasta water, straight into the pan. (You can lift it into a bowl into which you have added the extra olive oil and cover with the sauce, but its just more dishes....) Mix about until the spaghetti is comepletly coated. Add the extra oilive oil if necessary. Add the parsely. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner