I’m looking at a blank document, but my mind is full of fresh ideas and a cleaned-out fridge filled with few ingredients.
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So let me begin by saying that many need to realize that fresh pasta is one of the best ways to enjoy a meal and the freshest pasta I’ve ever had was made by my college girlfriend’s mother.
Mary Scarpino’s mother made the best gnocci I’ve tasted and I’ve not found an equal to this day. It had the right texture, mouth feel and was perfect with the homemade sauce that went with the family dinner that night.
But for now we will be sticking with spaghetti and adding one more recipe to your files in the hopes of cooking a fantastic lunch or dinner for family and friends.
— Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Spaghetti aglio, Olio E Pepperoncini
- 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 pepperoncini, sliced into thin rings
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Romano cheese, optional
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In cast iron skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add garlic and sliced pepperoncini, and brown the garlic.
Meanwhile, bring a gallon of salted water — 3 to 4 parts water to 1 part pasta to allow proper cooking — to boil. Cook until al dente (firm to the tooth), pull from water, drain well and arrange on a warmed platter.
Remove the garlic and pour the oil and ingredients across the pasta and sprinkle with parsley. Pour through a fine mesh strainer if you don’t want the pepperoncini and shallots, but I like them mixed in with the pasta.
A few grinds of fresh Wisconsin Romano cheese, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper will top off the dish.