Spaghetti Aglio e olio

Spaghetti Aglio e olio

Spaghetti Aglio e olio, or spaghetti with garlic and olive oil, is a simple, quick plant-based meal for a busy weekday. From start to finish 20 minutes with five ingredients. Don’t let the simplicity and speed fool you. It is a treat for not only the taste buds, but for the soul. 

I learned about Spaghetti Aglio e olio from Stanley Tucci during his series, Searching for Italy, as it was his Dad’s go-to recipe for Friday nights. This dish is known as “culinary rustica” which is rural home-style cooking and is from region of Abruzzo that is about 50 miles east of Rome. It is a dish of the people.

 

Simplicity Rules

The ingredients are simple and available as most of us have them in our pantry: spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, and salted water. That’s all. As the very salted water is boiling, peel and slice the garlic paper thin. And as the pasta is cooking, make the sauce which is olive olive, red pepper flakes, and parsley. If you generously salt the pasta water then you won’t need to add salt to the dish. Just make sure you don’t burn the garlic as it will be bitter. So keep a close on it it as garlic can turn burnt in a blink of an eye. Reserve some of the pasta water before you drain the spaghetti to thicken the sauce once you have added the pasta to the sauce. I usually just use tongs to grab the pasta and put it in the sauce swirling it around so it carries some water with it in the transfer. Grate some cheese — vegan or otherwise — and sprinkle parsley and you have a nice looking meal. Add a salad and you have a delicious dinner.

If you enjoyed this dish and are looking for another simple, quick Italian meal? Try Cacio e Pepe.

Spaghetti Aglio e olio

10 minutes

10 minutes

20 minutes

4

Ingredients

  • 16 oz spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated dairy or vegan parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
  • salt, to taste

Preparation

  • 1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add spaghetti cooking per package directions. Usually 10 minutes.
  • 2. Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves.
  • 3. Heat the olive oil over medium hear in pan. Add the garlic and chili flakes cooking gently for a few minutes, or until the garlic is pale gold. Watching carefully not to burn the garlic or it will be bitter.
  • 4. Stir in chopped parsley.
  • 5. Before draining the spaghetti, reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.
  • 6. Add spaghetti to pan, stir well to coat with the oil, add some starchy cooking water to thicken the sauce a little bit.
  • 7. Cook on medium heat for 30 seconds, stirring a couple of times.
  • 8. Sprinkle with extra chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese.
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Vegan French Onion Pasta

Vegan French Onion Pasta

One of my favorite soups is French Onion Soup. I just can not say no when I see it on any menu. And I enjoy making it at home. But I love pasta too. So why not make Vegan French Onion Pasta?

It is comfort food. Perfect for a cold winter’s evening when the wind is whipping around the house and rain pelts the windows. The house fills with the aroma of caramelized onions and fresh thyme. So very cozy.

This isn’t one of my fastest recipes. It takes about an hour from start to finish. And it is a one pot meal. The key to Vegan French Onion Pasta is the caramelized onions. No butter is used. Olive oil on medium for about 25-30 minutes with constant stirring. It is well worth the effort as there is nothing tastier than caramelized onions with mushrooms and thyme. One of my favorite flavor combinations. Dry white wine and a dash of sherry vinegar, elevates the flavor even more.

Speaking of sherry vinegar, I’m getting quite a collection of vinegars. I find that I’m using vinegar more and more in my cooking as I continue my exportation of plant-based eating. My go-to vinegar is apple cider vinegar with balsamic a close a second. It just makes things better. The sherry vinegar finishes off the dish right at the end.

Try Vegan French Onion Pasta for your next rainy cold evening.

 

Vegan French Onion Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 12 oz dried orecchiette or other short cut pasta
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  • 1. Heat oil over a large skillet over medium heat.
  • 2. When hot then add the onions and a very generous pinch of salt.
  • 3. Cook, stirring frequently until deeply caramelized which takes about 25-30 minutes.
  • 4. Add the garlic, mushrooms and thyme sautéing until the mushrooms begin to soften.
  • 5. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and add the flour. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until thickened.
  • 6. Pour in the vegetable stock and water.
  • 7. Generously season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 8. Bring to a boil then add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente.
  • 9. Turn off the heat and stir in the sherry vinegar.
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Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi

Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi

Looking for some plant-based comfort food for cold fall nights? Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi fits the bill. One of new favorite meals. With our schedules, a quick easy weekday meals are essential. This not only comfort food, but quick and easy.

There is something so comforting about a big bowl of something delicious as the days get shorter and colder. Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi is a one-pot meal with a handful of ingredients. Outside of the kale, it is made with pantry items. Just gnocchi, kale, broth, beans, minced garlic, milk, butter, and parmesan cheese. That’s it. And it can be make in less than 25 mins. A quick, easy home cooked meal that’s faster than delivery.

Now I’m not going to say it is healthy as it does have milk and butter… and just because it is vegan products doesn’t mean it is low fat or low calorie. But it is awfully good. Again comfort food. You can make it with dairy or plant-based products. I made it plant-based and my guys couldn’t tell the difference. It is all about the blending of the simple flavors. All I used was garlic, salt, and pepper, but yet it bursts with flavor.

If you want to have a special meal, then you can make your own gnocchi. Making your own gnocchi isn’t as hard as you think. And it is a fun family activity. The homemade gnocchi recipe makes a few servings and that freeze well; however, packaged gnocchi works well. And that’s what I’ve been using as I haven’t been motivated to make my own and I lack freezer space. I used spinach one; because that’s the only kind Aldi had when I ran it to get bread and didn’t really want to stop into another grocery store. It turned out quite nice. You could say that the meal was brought to you by the color green. Don’t be afraid to try different kinds of gnocchi as well as kale. I like lacinato kale, but use whatever you have available to you. Just chop it well so it cooks quickly.

Give Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi a try.

Creamy Kale Butter Bean Gnocchi

5 minutes

15 minutes

20 minutes

4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup plant milk like oat milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegan unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces gnocchi
  • 3 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 1 (15 oz) can butter beans, drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  • 1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
  • 2. Add garlic; stir constantly for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • 3. Add broth, milk, butter and salt and pepper to taste.
  • 4. Add gnocchi; stir to combine stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes until gnocchi is soft.
  • 5. Stir in kale, beans and Parmesan cheese.
  • 6. Cook until kale is just wilted.
  • 7. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
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Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

The Traditional Pasta Cacao e Pepe

 

We’ve been rewatching Somebody Feed Phil with Phil Rosenthal and recently came to his Venice episode and binge watched Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy. During Tucci’s Rome show, he visited Japanese chef Kotaro Noda’s Bistro 64. Chef Noda made the classic Roman dish, Cacio e Pepe.

While we were watching it in the morning, my mouth was watering and I knew what we were having for dinner. I adore pasta (and actually most carb rich foods). To me a bowl of pasta is comfort food therefore, I don’t need an excuse to make it. It took me a couple replays of the segment to get the ingredients and technique down.

 

A Humble Dish

 

Parmesan Pecorino cheeses

 

This is a truly simple and humble dish with six ingredients… seven if you count the pasta water. The stars of the dish are freshly ground pepper, Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses. In 15-minutes you could have this meal.

Looking for another quick and simple meal? Try a bread salad from Tuscany, Panzanella.

Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Spaghetti
  • 1-2 cups salted pasta water
  • 3-4 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grown black pepper
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preparation

  • - Cook spaghetti according to the directions adding a generous helping of salt to the water.
  • - Drain pasta reserving 1-2 cups of pasta water.
  • - Melt butter in large pan stirring in the pepper toasting for a minute.
  • - Add a cup of the pasta water and bring to a simmer.
  • - Add pasta then slowly add in cheeses tossing together until a "creamy" sauce forms. If the pasta is too dry then incorporate more of the pasta water.
  • - Finish the dish with more freshly ground pepper.
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Pasta Carbonara with Italian Sausage

Pasta Carbonara with Italian Sausage

Luxuriously Pasta Carbonara

 

Pasta Carbonara was something I always ordered out at an Italian restaurant. It seemed so complicated — a dish I couldn’t possibly make myself at home — silly me. Of course, I could make Pasta Carbonara! I make bread and pastries. Those are tricky to prepare well.

Confidence with Cream

 

I had nothing to fret about regarding this recipe. Anyone can do it. It is just cream, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, and pasta water.

Why was I so afraid? No clue. It does take practice to get the consistency right. It is simple. And quick.

Sausage or Bacon

 

You can make this recipe the more traditional way with bacon. Or you can make it with sausage. Depending on how I feel, I use spicy or mild sausage. That goes for how I prepare the sausage. Sometimes I take the sausage out of the casings frying it up that way or cook them whole then slicing them placing them on top of the pasta.

It is worth trying to find pappardelle. I prefer how the sauce takes to it.

So you can now skip the restaurant and make Pasta Carbonara at home.

Need more pasta recipes? Visit the pasta section of Well Worn Apron.

 

Pasta Carbonara with Italian Sausage

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine
  • 1 cups frozen peas
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 Italian sausage links - spicy or mild (about 1 pound)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces), plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Preparation

  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the peas during the last minute of cooking. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta and peas, and return them to the pot.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until cooked through about 10-15 minutes.
  • In a mid-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half-and-half or cream, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Add the egg mixture and reserved cooking water to the pasta and peas in the pot.
  • Cook over low heat, tossing gently, until the sauce is slightly thickened and coats the pasta. Serve with the sausage and additional cheese.
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Spinach Bacon Ravioli

Spinach Bacon Ravioli

Simple Savory Spinach Bacon Ravioli

Quick and simple doesn’t necessarily mean calling for pizza delivery (though sometimes that is a nice treat). You can make a quick delicious meal that is good on the wallet and the waistline. Spinach Bacon Ravioli is one of those meals that can be made in a jiffy but tastes luxurious.

Spinach Bacon Ravioli is a 15-minute meal. Well, 30-minute if you count stopping at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. Ok, I’m pretty quick in the grocery store so it may take you a little longer. The ingredient list is short: ravioli, bacon, whole garlic, spinach, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. That’s it.

On The Go

I usually have bacon and ravioli in the freezer. Garlic and lemons are in the fridge. So spinach is what I’m stopping for in the grocery store if I haven’t thought ahead. That said I tried to stock my veggie bin with veg we like, and spinach is one of them. With my schedule going in different directions, I am trying to meal plan more and do a week’s shopping in one go. Am I successful? Not really, but I keep trying. For me, the key is to have essential ingredients that I can create different meals on the fly, depending on what I feel like or the time I have. And time is something I have a limited supply of these days.

Let’s get back to the dish. Super simple. With seven ingredients – five if you exclude the salt and pepper – you can make a fancy restaurant meal at home. I use refrigerated cheese ravioli, but frozen works just as well. Don’t limit yourself to cheese ravioli; get creative. When I’m preparing the bacon, instead of wiping out the pan to cook the garlic and spinach, I use the bacon fat. Why get rid of that super flavor? You can swap out the bacon fat for olive oil, but I say use the fat. Just gives everything a wonderful rich flavor. And it isn’t like there is an inch of fat in the pan, more like a coating. Just enjoy it. (Don’t do it with every meal, every day, OK?)

Looking for more pasta dishes? Visit the pasta section.

 

Spinach Bacon Ravioli

Ingredients

  • 1 package ravioli
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 2 gloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 10 oz container baby spinach torn
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Preparation

  • Boil then cook ravioli to package directions.
  • While water is setting to boil, cut bacon into sections using a kitchen scissors then cook in pre-heated pan over medium-high heat.
  • When bacon is almost crispy, add sliced garlic cooking until brown.
  • Add spinach, salt, and pepper stirring until spinach is wilted.
  • Add in lemon juice stirring.
  • Drain ravioli arranging on plate topping with spinach bacon mixture.
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