Isn’t it funny how certain foods can remind you so vividly of particular people and draw you back in time to memories so vibrant you can practically taste the food? It’s the way that rice pilaf or ambrosia salad makes me think of my Aunt Theresa and playing outside with my cousins. Or, how Corned Beef Hash reminds me of Sunday mornings with my Dad. Well, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, or spaghetti with garlic and oil, makes me think of my Grammy. I’m pretty sure that I never pronounced it correctly, but she always knew what I was asking for and was more than happy to make it for me. Little did I know what a cinch it is to put this delicious dish together. I would have asked for it more often!
I was reminded of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio last weekend. My husband and I went out for a rare dinner date, while my mother-in-law babysat the kiddies. On the menu, there was a linguine dish with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, and broccoli. I instantly thought of my Grammy and was very tempted to order it. I ended up choosing something different, but made a mental note to make Spaghetti Aglio e Olio soon. Since I have an open tin of anchovies sitting in the fridge, begging to be used, tonight seemed like the perfect time to whip up my own version of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Anchovies and Broccoli.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Anchovies and Broccoli
- 1 package of Spaghetti
- 3/4 cup Olive Oil
- 6 large cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
- 5-6 Anchovy Fillets, rinsed and chopped
- 2 cups Broccoli, chopped and steamed
- 1/4 tsp Salt, plus more if desired*
- 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper, plus more if desired
- Parmesan Cheese
*If you choose to omit the anchovies, you will probably want to add additional salt, since the sauce will lack the saltiness the anchovies lend to it.
Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. When the spaghetti is almost finished cooking, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a pan. Add the anchovies, sliced garlic and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the anchovies dissolve and the garlic is lightly browned and softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining oil and salt. Stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low, just enough to keep it warm, and add the steamed broccoli. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. When the spaghetti is finished cooking, drain the pasta. Toss it with the sauce and broccoli. Sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese before serving.
The garlicky oil in this dish is just screaming to be soaked up by a piece of warm, crusty bread. So, don’t forget to buy a loaf of fresh bakery bread or make your own. I made a loaf of French Bread, similar to the one I made several weeks ago to accompany the Ragout of Sausage, Cannellini Beans, and Rapini. At the time of that post, I created a link to the French Bread recipe I followed, since I’d made it without any adaptations. Well, I realized the error of my ways when I went back to click on the link, only to receive a message alerting me that the page could not be found. I was able to quickly locate the recipe on the website, but the experience taught me a lesson about not relying on links to document recipes. Today, I’m going to share my own French Bread recipe, which is a modified version of the other recipe. I added more flour, which made the dough significantly easier to work with. I also adjusted the procedure for rolling and baking the dough and added an egg wash to give the bread a little sheen.
Crusty French Bread
- 5 cups Flour
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Dry Active Yeast
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- Oil, for bowl
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Combine flour and salt. In a large bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Stir in half of the flour/salt mixture, until well blended. Cover with a towel and allow it to rest at room temperature for 3 hours. It will triple in size. After 3 hours, add the remaining flour/salt mixture and combine with your hands. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. Clean, dry, and lightly oil the bowl. Return the kneaded dough to the oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and let it rest at room temperature for another hour. The dough will rise again. Knead the dough for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface. Split the dough in two. Roll each piece of dough into a rectangle. Then, starting with the long side, roll the dough into a loaf. Brush the seam with a little water to seal it closed. Place the loaves on a baking sheet, seam side down. Allow the loaves to rest on the baking sheet, at room temperature, for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the baking sheet with the loaves in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the loaves and brush with a lightly beaten egg white. Return the loaves to the oven and bake for another 10 -15 minutes.
Adapted from a French Bread recipe found at www.famousfrenchdesserts.com