Friday, September 10, 2010

LET US NOM: CREAMY GARLIC SPAGHETTI

Perhaps you find yourself drawn to the scent of garlic, herbs, and spices as they simmer on the stove... mixing gently with tomato and cheese to delicately coat the pound of whole grain spaghetti eagerly awaiting in the colander above the sink.  You walk into the kitchen to peer over my shoulder and observe the gentle care taken to delicately fold the glorious concoction of condiments into the heaping pile of noodles whose exotic complexion compliments the creamy mixture as it crashes over each strand.  You close your eyes to take in the aroma as I stir the pasta gently before scooping it into a tiny ceramic dish.  A sprinkling of fresh parmesan tops off the dish like a dusting of winter snow discovered upon waking.  You follow me into the living room and with a gentle clink of the fork to the bowl, you know dinner is complete.

I curl up beside you on the sofa, sitting cross-legged, my own bowl of pasta in my lap as I rub my hands together in excitement for the feast.  As you take your first bite, I watch intently for your reaction, proud of my accomplishment and eager to begin eating myself.  You say to me that you do not understand- you are not overwhelmed by garlic and the sauce is so creamy, but I did not use milk.  "Well, well," I say, "let me share with you my secret."

Okay, here's your toolbox:
- pot large enough to boil 1 lb spaghetti
- stirring utensil
- measuring spoons
- colander
- bowl/fork (for serving)

Here's your shopping list:
- 1 lb Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti
- 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jar Francesco Rinaldi Marinara (or Sweet & Tasty Tomato) Sauce
- basil
- oregano
- pepper
- parsley
- sea salt
- extra virgin olive oil
- Veggie Shreds
- 2 heaping tbs Country Crock
- 1 tbs of fresh grated parmesan cheese

Estimated nom time: less than 15 minutes from time of boil.

Here's the breakdown:
- Set your pot of water on the stove top with just a pinch of sea salt to quicken the boil
- Add olive oil to prevent the strands from sticking (and garlic... if you so desire)
- Remove the Whole Grain Spaghetti from the box, gently placing it in the boiling water at a 45 degree angle.  Please, oh please, DO NOT break the strands in half... gently use a utensil to push the ends into the pot until they are submerged completely.
- Set your timer: 6 minutes.
- Do not walk away.  Stir your pasta periodically to ensure separation of strands & even cooking.
- Gently press down on each clove, removing the tip with a knife.  The rest should peel off.
- Mince the garlic into tiny squares and put aside.
- When you hear that magical beep, six minutes have passed and you can drain your pasta.
- Shake the spaghetti in the colander a few times to help the water find its way out.
- Leave the colander and spaghetti suspended over the sink and return to the stove.
- Using the same pot (saves water & time while washing!) coat the bottom with a layer of olive oil.
- Dump the garlic into the olive oil and let simmer on your lowest setting.  Be careful not to let the garlic burn or brown.  From my experience, it tastes HORRIBLE.  If this happens, throw it away and start over.  Seriously.  Badly cooked garlic could ruin ANYONE's appetite... even the Garlic Monster's!
- Scoop out two heaping tablespoons of Country Crock and stir them around until melted.
- Add a handful of Veggie Shreds (mozzarella), stir until melted.
- Note that you have a creamy mixture that may stick to the pot.
- Add in the jar of Francesco Rinaldi and continue to stir.
- Cover half the surface of the sauce with basil.
- Cover the full surface of the sauce with oregano.
- Add pepper at your own discretion.
- Add one pinch (literally) of parsley.
- Continue to stir until mixed fully.
- Remove the spaghetti from the colander and pour into the still-simmering sauce.
- Gently fold the sauce into the spaghetti, being sure to cover ever surface.
- After folding the sauce into the heaping pile of spaghetti, stir.
- Scraping from the bottom (to make sure you get enough garlic!) place pasta into designated bowl.
- Top of with approx. 1-2 table spoons of fresh grated parmesan cheese... and serve!

This is one of my favorite meals to prepare and even more so to eat.  I hope you enjoy... and  please feel free to comment with pictures, suggestions, modifications, and family reactions!

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Fans of this dish also like:
- lactose-free baked ziti // lactose-free baked lasagna -
- lactose-free penne alla vodka // vegan stuffed shells -

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