Saturday, November 5, 2011

I have won at Garlic Spaghetti

Crescent Dragonwagon (yes, that's really her name), in her excellent cookbook The Passionate Vegetarian, gives a vegetarian version of Spaghetti Carbonara entitled "The One, the Only, the Greatest Garlic Spaghetti" (p. 864, if you're interested.) And it is awfully, awfully good. I've tried it now several times, and I totally get why she wishes "to have this recipe chipped on [her] tombstone as [her] greatest contribution to human happiness." But I've never gotten it quite right, and I'm a little ashamed to admit why.

See, she tells you:
Don't wuss out on the garlic...or you'll miss out on one of the very best dishes known to woman or man. 
Thing is, she calls for 7 to 8 cloves of raw garlic for a two person serving, and when I tried this the first time I made it, my head damn near flew off.

Subsequent attempts to tone it down a little bit helped only a smidge with the bite, while reducing the depth of flavor. But tonight, I finally got it. The trick, as it turned out, was to use 6 or 7 cloves-- but to saute half of them in butter until they just begin to caramelize around the edges, and use them as you'd use the bacon in traditional (and treyf) Spaghetti Carbonara (I also added some bits of roast, marinated chestnut.) I also added some lemon juice and rosemary to the egg sauce to compensate for the lack of depth from reducing the raw garlic.

The verdict from me & S.? Unanimous orgasm faces upon first bite.

Recipe after the jump. But first, an admonishment of my own-- do not, under any circumstances, try to cut down on the butter, egg, or cheese. As Rachel Maddow said (originally of mojitos), "Yeah, [garlic spaghetti] is not a health food." Trying to turn it into one will make the deity of your choice weep tears of blood.

Also, I have no pictures. We ate it all too quickly. So sorry. Or, you know, not. (Edit: Made it again, and got a picture.)

 Levi's Orgasm-Inducing Garlic Spaghetti
(Adapted from Crescent Dragonwagon's The Passionate Vegetarian)
Makes two generous (yet always insufficient) servings

  • 8 oz spaghetti (CD says you can also use fettucine, but to me, the round shape of spaghetti is perfect for sucking deliciousness off it. And don't use anything thinner than spaghetti. You want something toothsome.)
  • 1 large egg, raw (try to use one of whose provenance and quality you are assured of. This is, after all, the bulk of the sauce.)
  • 6-7 biggish cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3-4 tbsps softened butter, plus an extra tbsp or two for sauteĆ©ing.
  • 1/2-3/4 cup freshly grated hard cheese (Very good parmaggiano reggiano is classic; we used a very tasty cheese called Podda Classico.)
  • A few small sprigs fresh rosemary, minced
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste (read: a LOT of the latter)
  • A generous blop of good olive oil

  • 3-4 roasted chestnuts, chopped, and marinated about 20 minutes in a mixture of the following:
  • About a tablespoon each sherry and apple cider
  • About a teaspoon each balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and red miso.

  1. Boil water (with a pinch of salt in) for pasta. Cook until just al dente. Don't overcook. Seriously. When ready, drain (but don't rinse), put back into the (warm!) pot, and toss with a generous lashing of good olive oil.
  2. Warm your serving dishes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat one or two tbsps butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add half the minced garlic and about 1/3 of the rosemary. After a moment, add the chestnuts (marinade and all) if using. Turn the heat to medium-low. When the garlic is golden brown at the edges, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Put egg, remaining butter, rosemary and garlic, lemon juice and zest, a good portion of the cheese, a pinch of salt and a ton of pepper into a food processor or the beaker of an immersion blender. Process into a smooth paste. As soon as the pasta has been tossed with olive oil, pour this into the pot, and toss vigorously. Serve into warmed bowls and eat IMMEDIATELY, dressed with the sauteed garlic (and chestnut, if using), the remaining cheese, and, if you wish, a shake of red pepper flakes. Resist the urge to smoke a cigarette, afterwards.

You're welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I looked for a "like" button on this. Except that would not be quite accurate, since I really need an "orgasm face" button.