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Garlic's Magic Kiss

May 19, 1999

I love garlic. I knew I had found the man of my dreams when he responded to the smell of garlic on my breath with "Ummmm, you smell delicious! What'd you have for lunch?" Three years and approximately 100 pounds of garlic later, we are still compatriots in our adoration of this lusty herb. This leads me to my favorite dish to eat, which doubles as the easiest to make.

The traditional Italian pasta aglio ed olio is a dish for anyone who enjoys a minimalist approach to garlic and olive oil. What takes the most time is peeling, smashing and chopping two bulbs of garlic for the 16 ounces of pasta. I suppose a food processor could be used, but that is just one more contraption to wash. If you use only a frying pan to saute the garlic, a pot to boil the pasta and the knife for chopping, that leaves little more then five things to wash at the end of the meal, including plates. These details count at the end of a long day.

Here's the recipe: Cook 1 pound of linguine al dente. While it is cooking, peel and chop two heads of garlic fine, but not too fine--you don't want it pulverized. Heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over moderate heat, add the garlic, lower the heat and cover for a minute. If the heat is very low, the garlic shouldn't burn. Cook the garlic gently 5 minutes, or until golden but not brown.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan of garlic and oil. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock, sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Toss well, garnish with 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Breathe deep and enjoy! Serves two garlic-loving savages or three or more sensible people.


San Luis Obispo

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