Monday, November 10, 2008

Naked pasta or, should I say, barely dressed

My pick from this weekend's farmers' market forage is the fresh, handmade egg pasta from La Pasta. They have a storefront in Wedgewood but you've no doubt see them at farmers' markets around town. The Voracious blog on the Seattle Weekly website has the details.

Most of the time I'm happy with a good quality 16 oz. box of pasta from the grocer because I'm thinking more about the the sauce. But every once in a while I indulge in the fresh, handmade stuff such as La Pasta, which I like to serve nearly naked. The pasta, I mean. I don't want to cover up the silky texture and subtle tastes with a lot of sauce. To feature these qualities, I went with aglio e olio in the simplest way.

While the water was heating up to boiling, I sauteed a few cloves of chopped garlic in extra virgin olive oil until golden brown and seasoned with coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. At the very end, I also threw in a pat of butter. (I love these pungent bits that turn sweet and crunchy; no vampires here!)

Into the boiling water, I threw in a big pinch of coarse sea salt and 1-2 servings of the pasta. It takes only 3-4 minutes to cook so don't get too distracted. Toss the pasta with the aglio e olio and serve immediately. The crunchy bits provide a delicious contrast to the smooth, firm noodles. Of course, you could add almost anything else to this to bump it up a notch but this most basic method is good too.

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