Category Archives: Aglio e Olio

It’s amazing what a little oil and garlic can do…

Okay. So you’re likely wondering what’s with the picture. Right? It’s not much to look at, and what is it anyhow. Simple…spaghetti squash cooked with aglio e olio, or with garlic and oil (and a few other things. As simple as this photo looks the squash is bursting with flavor. It’s amazing what a little caramelized garlic, a few hot peppers, a pinch of salt, and some olive oil can do…it makes anything taste great. Well maybe not anything, but most things. Especially vegetables and pasta. To learn how to make this particular recipe (with photos and step-by-step instructions) click here. To learn how to cook nearly anything in this fashion, click here. Try any of these recipes, you won’t be sorry; they are as good as they are simple to make.

Urban Simplicity.

Asparagi aglio e olio (and a few other ingredients)


Olive oil, garlic, hot pepper, and lemon. Brilliant. Yes, I know I’ve posted this recipe before (and those similar to it), but I can’t get enough of it. It is so easy to make and so delicious I’m going to keep posting it/them until you make a variation of it 🙂

Stove-Top Braised Asparagus with Olive Oil, Lemon, Garlic, and Hot pepper
Serves four
¼ cup virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of their fibrous ends
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the asparagus. Sprinkle the garlic, hot pepper, and salt on and around the asparagus. Gently shake the pan, and using tongs, turn the asparagus in the pan. Add a few tablespoons water to the pan, then lower the heat and place a lid on it for a couple minutes. Remove the lid and add the lemon juice to the pan, gently turning the asparagus. Transfer the asparagus to a clean plate and pour the oil and lemon over it, along with the garlic and hot pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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This is way more fun than cutting a lawn…

It has been more than ten years since I tore up my teeny front lawn and planted a teeny vegetable garden which yields big results. And over the years it–the garden–has spread to other areas around the house; the side and rear, mainly. But this year–because of various reasons–I have only planted the front yard garden…sort of getting back to basics. It’s doing well and tonight was the first significant haul of the season…broccoli. It is so satisfying picking the broccoli and cooking it just feet from where it grew and remembering when you planted it (I could go on). At any rate, I’ve posted this recipe numerous times prior but it is one f my favorite. It is simple, nutritious, and really easy to make. If you haven’t made this yet I hope you give it a try.

 

Penne alla aglio e olio con broccoli in brodo

(Penne with Garlic, Oil, Broccoli, and Chicken Broth)

Yield: 4 servings
3/4 pound whole wheat penne
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta and drain it. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with the garlic and hot pepper flakes. When the garlic just starts to change color add the chicken broth and salt. Cook the broth for one minute, until it reduces by half, and then add the broccoli. Toss the broccoli for a few minutes. Add the cooked pasta, and stir it until thoroughly coated with the other ingredients. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

A Recipe for Spring (whether it feels like spring or not)

So yes it is officially spring, but no–like much of the country–it does not feel like it. Nonetheless, I’m cooking as if it is. This is a really simple and really delicious recipe for stove-top braised asparagus. It’s really just a variation of any of my aglio e olio recipes…but with a couple more steps. But it is still exceedingly simple and really delicious (did I mention that this was delicious?). Being Good Friday, I ate the asparagus with fish meatballs (here’s the recipe). The asparagus was done before the meatballs and pasta were cooked and I ate most of it before I sat down for dinner. Anyhow, here’s how to make it.

Stove-Top Braised Asparagus with Olive Oil, Lemon, Garlic, and Hot pepper
Serves four
¼ cup virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of their fibrous ends
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the asparagus. Sprinkle the garlic, hot pepper, and salt on and around the asparagus. Gently shake the pan, and using tongs, turn the asparagus in the pan. Add a few tablespoons water to the pan, then lower the heat and place a lid on it for a couple minutes. Remove the lid and add the lemon juice to the pan, gently turning the asparagus. Transfer the asparagus to a clean plate and pour the oil and lemon over it, along with the garlic and hot pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Verdure aglio e olio (due ricette)

Okay. By now–if you’ve been to this blog before–you know that I like things cooked with olive oil and garlic. A lot. I could eat it in variation nearly every day…and I almost do. I posted a similar recipe about a month ago but this combo was too good not to share…whole wheat penne with broccoli aglio e olio, layered with spaghetti squash cooked in the same fashion. I also used extra garlic and hot pepper in the recipe and a liberal dousing of Parmesan to finish it. Yum. I just ate but I salivate at it’s remembrance. Anyhow, the recipe for the penne and broccoli is below (substitute penne for the spaghetti, and vegetable broth for the chicken broth if you want to keep it vegetarian). To see how to cook, shred, and saute a butternut squash in this fashion (with pics and step-by-step instructions), see this post. For multiple recipes on cooking nearly anything aglio e olio, click here.

 

Spaghetti alla Aglio e Olio con Broccoli in Brodo

(Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil, Broccoli, and Chicken Broth)

                                        Yield: 4 servings

3/4 pounds spaghetti

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups chopped broccoli florets 

2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Cook the spaghetti and drain it. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with the garlic and hot pepper flakes. When the garlic just starts to change color add the chicken broth and salt. Cook the broth for one minute, until it reduces by half, and then add the broccoli. Toss the broccoli for a few minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti, and stir it until thoroughly coated with the other ingredients. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

Two Recipes Made for Each Other…

I made these tonight for my son and myself…Penne and Halibut Fra Diavolo and Spaghetti Squash Aglio e Olio. How was it, you may be wondering? Let’s just say there is not much left 🙂 Delicious. Both recipes are really easy to make and bursting with flavor. If you want more pic and the history behind fra diavolo (brother devil), click here. The see how to prepare a spaghetti squash and make it taste really delicious (as pictured), click here.

 
Penne Fra Diavolo with Halibut

Yield: 4 portions

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 anchovy fillets

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2/3 cup red wine

2 cups tomato purée

1 pound diced halibut

1/2 pound penne rigate


Combine the olive oil, onion, garlic, anchovies, red pepper, basil, parsley, and salt in a skillet over medium heat. Stir and mash the ingredients with the back of a wooden spoon until the onion and garlic is translucent but not browned. Stir in the wine and simmer it for a minute or two, then add the tomato puree. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook it for 5 or 10 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick thin it with a little water. While the sauce is simmering boil the pasta until al dente. Stir the fish into the sauce, bring it back to a simmer and poach it for about 5 minutes. When the fish is cooked gently fold in the pasta. Remove the pot from the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors of the sauce and fish permeate the pasta.



Urban Simplicity.

Warm Weather and a Recipe…

Okay, so as I type these words it is 4:00pm in the afternoon, December 3rd, and it is a balmy 55f/12c…and I am typing in Buffalo, NY, where we are known for our often harsh winters. I’m sure we’re going to get a taste of it soon enough (though last year it hardly snowed at all), but for now I’ll take this. And as nice as the weather is, I have to say that it is more than a bit disconcerting. It seems when I was a kid it was cold and snowy from November to March. Anyhow, I just snapped this picture…yes, I still have broccoli and a few other items growing in the backyard. One of my favorite broccoli preparations is to cook it simply with olive oil and garlic (and toss it with pasta). The recipe is below, but to see photos of it being prepared, click here.

Spaghetti alla Aglio e Olio con Broccoli in Brodo

(Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil, Broccoli, and Chicken Broth)

                                        Yield: 4 servings
3/4 pounds spaghetti
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chopped broccoli florets 
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Cook the spaghetti and drain it. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with the garlic and hot pepper flakes. When the garlic just starts to change color add the chicken broth and salt. Cook the broth for one minute, until it reduces by half, and then add the broccoli. Toss the broccoli for a few minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti, and stir it until thoroughly coated with the other ingredients. Stir in the cheese just before serving.
 

Simple Pasta Recipe = Comfort Food

I had mentioned in recent posts on how I am in a particularly stressful period right now at work. Crazy busy. Just one lunch and dinner after another. Today, at one point, I think I was making five different recipes simultaneously while I was also directing my staff. I’m not mentioning this to be a braggart–on the contrary–but just to illustrate the difference between cooking at work to cooking at home. At work I have to cook things simultaneously and in large batches…sauces by the gallon, soups in 20-30 gallon batches, entrees by the hundreds. And all the while barking out orders to the cooks. It’s a wonder I make it through the day sometimes. Really. Okay…sorry for being so whiny. My point is what a juxtaposition it is then to come home and cook dinner for myself. My son was not home this evening so it was just myself and my pugs. So after I fed the dogs I poured myself a glass of wine, put a pot of water on the stove to boil (for pasta), tuned into NPR on the radio, sat on a stool and waited for the water to boil while I sipped my wine. Quite a difference from the frantic cooking I did earlier in the day; without looking I knew the water was ready because I could hear it boiling. After I boiled and drained the pasta I made the following recipe. It’s one of my favorites and I have posted many variations of it on this blog. The recipe below uses spaghetti but tonight I made it with penne. Use whichever type of pasta you like and whichever vegetable you like. (For many other variations with better photos, click here.) And as I ate and listened to the radio I thought about how much I still love to cook–at home and at work (but not when it’s so busy)–and how good food tastes when you make it yourself. When I was almost done eating but had a little left on my plate, I fed it to my dogs (who had been sitting patiently and staring at me the entire while I cooked and ate), then I poured myself another glass of wine and turned up the radio a bit while I washed the dishes.


Spaghetti alla Aglio e Olio con Broccoli in Brodo

(Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil, Broccoli, and Chicken Broth)

                                        Yield: 4 servings
3/4 pounds spaghetti
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chopped broccoli florets 
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Cook the spaghetti and drain it. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet with the garlic and hot pepper flakes. When the garlic just starts to change color add the chicken broth and salt. Cook the broth for one minute, until it reduces by half, and then add the broccoli. Toss the broccoli for a few minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti, and stir it until thoroughly coated with the other ingredients. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

Broccolini Aglio e Olio

If you’ve been to this site before you know a few things about my cooking and eating habits. One is that I love whole wheat bread, especially Ezekiel Bread, and another is that I can–and nearly have–eat any vegetable sauteed in oil with garlic and hot peppers. This is just another example. I cooked this broccolini yesterday for a side dish for staff lunch. The recipe is below, but if you’d like additional recipes (with photos) of many other foods cooked in this fashion, click here.

  Broccolini Aglio e Olio
                                        Make 4 servings
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1 bunch broccolini
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup water
 

Heat the olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper in a skillet. When the garlic begins to sizzle and brown slightly add the broccolini, salt, and water. Toss and turn the vegetable for a couple minutes until most of the water evaporates and the broccolini is just cooked. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Urban Simplicity.

I Ate My Front Yard for Dinner…at least some of it

As many of you know from reading this blog, about 10 years ago I tore op my teeny front lawn to plant vegetables and have never looked back. It gets the best sun and I realized that I would much rather grow and pick vegetables than I would grow and cut grass. I eventually started a small garden in the back of the house as well but the front garden always seems to do a little better. And this year I am surprised–but mostly pleased–at how well both gardens are doing  (I re-fertilized the soil this year). It’s doing so well that some things have come to fruition already…not all but some. And so I picked some vegetables and cooked them in oil and garlic (aglio e olio) and tossed them with pasta. And while I was meandering through my tiny front yard garden–with glass of red wine in hand (the neighbors are used to me by now)–and lifting leaves to see whats under them, I couldn’t help but think of this article I read today and how ridiculous it is that some cities are not allowing a beautiful garden like this to exist. My mother, who came of age during WW II, told me that when she was young these city gardens–front and back–were called victory gardens. Growing your own food is a part of all of our past–whether you live in the city or country–and it’s likely part of our future. The catch phrase today seems to be eat or shop local. I’ll take it a step further and say this…grow it just outside your house and cook it where it grows. You can’t get any more local than that. I’ll get off my little vegetable crate now.

Urban Simplicity.

Spaghetti (grano intero) con Broccoli, Aglio e Olio

If you’ve followed any of the recipes on this blog you know that two of my favorite ingredients are olive oil and garlic. I made this for staff lunch today…whole wheat spaghetti with broccoli, garlic, olive oil, and hot peppers. For pictures and recipes on how to cook nearly anything aglio e olio scroll through this link.

Urban Simplicity.

Asparagi Aglio e Olio (ricetta)

This is just another delicious variation of cooking vegetables in olive oil with garlic and hot pepper. It is so simple but truly delicious and you can cook nearly any vegetable in this fashion. Here’s a simple recipe; for more recipes like this click here.  (I ate this for dinner tonight with brown rice, lamb, and yogurt…yum!)

Asparagi Aglio e Olio
(Asparagus with Garlic and Oil)
                                        Yield: 4 servings

4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot pepper
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup water
Heat the olive oil, garlic, and hot pepper in a skillet. When the garlic begins to sizzle and brown slightly add the asparagus, salt, and water. Toss and turn the asparagus for a couple minutes until most of the water evaporates and the asparagus is just cooked. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Whole Wheat-Oatmeal Pizza (crust) with Rapini and Three Cheeses

This is really a variation on two themes I’ve touched on before…vegetables cooked aglio e olio and a pizza recipe. In this version I used rapini, which I cooked with oil, garlic, and hot pepper, and the pizza crust was made using a hand-kneaded oatmeal crust (click here for the recipe). The main difference with rapini, I think, is that it is often blanched or briefly par-boiled before sauteing. This is an option, and some cooks may disagree, but I feel it removes some of its bitterness. Nonetheless, this is a delicious preparation for any vegetable, so I should warn you to cook extra…if you’re like me you’ll eat a good portion of it before it makes it to the pizza. Anyhow, here it is in pictures; if you’d like a recipe of vegetables and pasta being cooked in this fashion–and a better explanation with photos–click here.

As aforementioned, I used this recipe for the pizza dough but if you’d like other versions and variations–with pictures, recipes, and direction–click here. If you want to learn a bit about the inner workings of pizza dough, follow this link to an article I wrote for Artvoice a few years ago.

Urban Simplicity.

Broccoli Aglio e Olio

Vegetables can be so beautiful. I’ve posted on cooking things with aglio e olio many times in the past, but I had this for dinner last night and thought it was so beautiful and delicious I thought I’d share a picture. Click here or a recipe (with pasta); click hereto see many other versions of this dish.

Urban Simplicity.

Olive Oil for the Dogs

That’s Franklin on the left and Maxwell on the right, and they love olive oil. Well, OK…they would love any food I gave them. And yes, while some may find a pug unattractive, I think they are almost too cute…they are great house dogs and companions; and it’s like having two little aliens follow me around the house all evening. Anyhow, I’ll get to my point. Most know that olive oil, which happens to be my favorite cooking oil, is good for us humans on many levels, but did you also know that it is good for dogs as well, specifically their skin and coat? And this, I believe, is true for any breed dog, not only pugs. But I have  to back up a bit. Pugs, I’ve come to learn over the last few years, are prone to skin problems; Maxwell and Franklin are no exception. They get rashes and itchy skin so bad that sometimes they chew themselves raw (literally). I’ve taken them to the vet only to spend big bucks on medications and physician’s fees with little results. A few people have suggested putting fish oil on their food, which I did for a while. Recently, though, I came to learn that olive oil is just as good. I put a tablespoon or so on their food in the morning and evening. It took about a month to really show difference but what a difference it is. Their coats are soft and shiny again, and they have nearly stopped scratching…they even smell less “doggy.”  The only issue is that now every time I reach for the olive oil when I’m cooking dinner they start going nuts because they think it’s their dinner time…

Anyhow, I just thought I’d pass this along to other dog owners.

If you’d like a few recipes (for humans) using olive oil, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

Olive Oil for the Dogs

That’s Franklin on the left and Maxwell on the right, and they love olive oil. Well, OK…they would love any food I gave them. And yes, while some may find a pug unattractive, I think they are almost too cute…they are great house dogs and companions; and it’s like having two little aliens follow me around the house all evening. Anyhow, I’ll get to my point. Most know that olive oil, which happens to be my favorite cooking oil, is good for us humans on many levels, but did you also know that it is good for dogs as well, specifically their skin and coat? And this, I believe, is true for any breed dog, not only pugs. But I have  to back up a bit. Pugs, I’ve come to learn over the last few years, are prone to skin problems; Maxwell and Franklin are no exception. They get rashes and itchy skin so bad that sometimes they chew themselves raw (literally). I’ve taken them to the vet only to spend big bucks on medications and physician’s fees with little results. A few people have suggested putting fish oil on their food, which I did for a while. Recently, though, I came to learn that olive oil is just as good. I put a tablespoon or so on their food in the morning and evening. It took about a month to really show difference but what a difference it is. Their coats are soft and shiny again, and they have nearly stopped scratching…they even smell less “doggy.”  The only issue is that now every time I reach for the olive oil when I’m cooking dinner they start going nuts because they think it’s their dinner time…

Anyhow, I just thought I’d pass this along to other dog owners.

If you’d like a few recipes (for humans) using olive oil, click here.

Urban Simplicity.