Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cielo Chiaro Special: Capellini Aglio e’ Olio con Porro

While we’ve been experimenting with making our own pastas (and naturally eating lots of pasta at other places outside our own house), sometimes with great luck and sometimes with a little less luck, sometimes it’s easier to use the store-bought pastas. Especially when you have a desire for capellini, which is needle thin and which most pasta machines don’t have a setting for. With a thready pasta such as this, you don’t want any sort of heavy sauce--I like it best with a simple (and simple delicious) aglio e’ olio, a spiced oil more or less. Our one deviation from the norm was the addition of “porro” or leek, since we’d picked up some fine looking leeks at our local market recently. It’ll look like there are tons of leeks after they’re cut, but they cook down. Oh, another hint—don’t be afraid to add more oil then mentioned here, remembering that you want enough oil to cover all the pasta. Really, you’re flavoring the oil that then accents the pasta:

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil (more as needed)
3 leeks, sliced thin (use just to where they turn green)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon (or as desired) red pepper flakes (see Note)
1 package capellini (or angel hair pasta)
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese


1. Fill a stockpot or other pasta-cooking pot up with water over a high heat (you’ll want to be able to cook the pasta quick once the oil is ready—pasta this size only takes minutes).

2. Add the butter and oil to a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted and bubbled, reduce the heat the medium. Add the leek to the pan, and sauté for a few minutes, stirring regularly. You need to watch the heat, to ensure the delicate leeks don’t burn.

3. Add the garlic to the pan, stir and sauté for a minute or two, and then add the pepper, as well as a little salt and fresh pepper. Sauté a few more minutes, until the leeks are soft and the garlic is edging towards golden. At this point, if you don’t think there’s enough oil (should be a good amount) add a little more. Reduce the heat to low, stirring here and there.

4. Add a little salt to the water, and then cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, then add it back to the pot. Pour the oil mixture over the pasta and stir until all pasta is coated with oil. Serve in bowls topped with fresh parmesan cheese.

A Note: If you have small hot chilies and would rather use a couple of those chopped up, then go go go!

*See more specials: Penne e Noce, Zuppa di Pomodoro e’ Fagioli,Torta Vegetariana, Lasagna Vegetariana con Tartufo Crema, Homemade Tagliatelle e Gorgonzola, Orzo Vegetale con Crema, Four Italian Drinks

*See all Cielo Chiaro Specials

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