Another one …

03 Dec

The Thanksgivikkah Dinner post received such a good reception that I thought I’d post this old comment from Jill’s blog on MyOpera. It’s a variation of a traditional Italian recipe called Olio e Aglio(Oil and Garlic).

Capellini in Olio e Aglio con Spinaci
Hokay, here ya go:
1) Pour about ¼ cup E.V. Olive oil into a frying pan … a smallish pan, so the oil has some depth.
2) Add anywhere from 3 to 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped (depending on how much you groove on garlic).
3) Add a pinch of dried basil, and if desired, about half that much dried oregano.
4) Hey, when has a little bit of onion hurt anything? Onion powder will do, if you don’t feel like cutting one.
5) A wee bit of salt … not much.
6) OK … swish all that stuff around so it’s kinda mixed, like, and set it aside … don’t start heating it yet.

Next, salt a bunch of water, and cook up what seems to be a reasonable amount of pasta … my favourite is capellini, but others like spaghetti or maybe fettucini. Hell, I’ve even made it with Polish egg noodles. With capellini, I use about a ¾” bundle of full-length noodles, maybe a touch more. (Is it possible to have too much pasta?)

While the pasta is cooking, put a thawed package of chopped spinach into a strainer, and squish all the water out, using the back of a big ol’ serving spoon. It shouldn’t be dead dry, but it shouldn’t be sopping, either. Set it aside.

Drain the pasta, and oil it very lightly. Sprinkle in a goodly amount of grated parmesan or romano (or both) cheese, and swish it around. Set it aside in a place where it won’t cool off too fast. Cover it.

Now, start heating the stuff in the frying pan, gently … a sort of sauté temperature. Keep it moving, and keep heating until the garlic is softened and golden. Stop heating … there’s nothing worse than burnt garlic. And don’t ask me how I know that.

Pour all the stuff from the pan and the strainer into the pasta, and stir like crazy, until it’s reasonably well-mixed.

Serve. It’s really groovy stuff, and even kids like it, because garlic and onion, when cooked, turn sweet. And the spinach is good for you, and you don’t even have to squeeze the can to open it, à la Popeye! Besides, I like spinach.

You have just made a variation of what the Italians call “Oil and Garlic”. I call it “Capellini in Olio e Aglio con Spinaci”!
Well, I have a small addition to the recipe above … this is something that I hit upon when I was using a smaller pasta … this would work well even with the smallest sized shells (BTW, shells and cheese are better than macaroni and cheese, and obviously, anyone who’s ever eaten macaroni and cheese as the books tell you to make it, the cheese sauce MUST be “doctored” … I tend toward Italian herbs and spices, but other folk can do as they like, including ignoring this advice. Blech!). Now, back to the subject (I think) … I needed to make the spinach into smaller pieces, because the stuff, as frozen, is full leaves, or perty near. So, being a clever sort of chap, or “resourceful” as a boss told me once, just before giving me an insultingly inadequate raise, I bethought me of the kitchen shears that I keep in a drawer, under everything else, so no one will steal them and get them all gobbied up with glue and hair and stuff. I took the more-or-less dry spinach out of the strainer, and it held together nicely in my hand, so I went at it with the kitchen shears, cutting the”mat” of spinach into about ¼” strips. I used that, and, by Neddy Dingo, it worked!. I resolved to do the same thing in future. 
It was later, sitting and pondering, (idly, of course) that I remembered a curious shears that I had found in my late daughter’s effects: There were five parallel sets of shearing blades worked by one pair of handles. “Curious”, I thought, and assumed they were a cheap device for cutting up credit cards and the like … I tried them on an old debit card, and it was obvious that they were a desperate measure, at best, for that use, so I set them aside. Then, I thought of cutting up the spinach with them, went rooting about, found where I’d stashed them, and found them to be ideal for the task. I made a picture, so everyone would know exactly what I was talking about; they are the objects in the middle of the picture, regular shears are shown for comparison:

And then, making sure that these things could be purchased easily, I googled “five-bladed-scissors” expecting to be taken to office-supply sites. Instead, I was taken to kitchen-ware sites … it turns out the bloody things are called “Herb scissors”, and I had inadvertently stumbled upon the intended use. Amazon carries them, as do other places. 


Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


22 responses to “Another one …

  1. derwandersmann

    December 3, 2013 at 5:08 am

    Well, I tried to put a photo in there, but this damned software wouldn’t do what it said it would do. Just remember, “Insert photo” doesn’t insert a photo.

    Later (‘WAY later!) … I finally managed to Photobucket that photo into a comment. See comment #12, below.

  2. evawiren

    December 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Very nice recepie one more to try . So very nice

  3. derwandersmann

    December 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Yes, it is … The main recipe is traditional, but the spinach is my addition … it’s a way to make the recipe more nutritious. Other things can be added, too … the only problem is the danger of losing the essence of the Oil and Garlic.

  4. Harry...the Man!

    December 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks for the addition of the spinach. I do like spinach. Mighty good for you, too! 🙂

  5. Darko

    December 4, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Nice one, I will copy and print it so I can make it one day… maybe next week 😀

  6. derwandersmann

    December 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    A word of advice to any of you who want to make this or any recipe I might post: get the best and freshest olive oil that you can. Try to find one that has a pressing date on the bottle; not many do, here in the USA, the capital of food misrepresentation and obfuscation. Extra Virgin Olive Oil oxidises, and should not be kept longer than about 4 months. Those great big cans of the stuff that our mothers used to buy are a real waste of money, unless you’re a restaurant.

    • killjoke

      December 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      I find Virgin Olive Oil the best for frying.I believe in some areas it is sold under the name ‘Double’ Olive Oil.

      • derwandersmann

        December 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

        The Extra-Virgin Olive Oil over here is supposed to be the very first to come out of the press, with little or no external squishing being applied. Whenever I can, I taste it; a drop or two is sufficient. A very light, almost fruity flavour tells you that you have some good stuff.

        As far as the name goes, I find it a bit offputting to have it called extra virgin, although the intention is plain enough. For one thing, the phrase is almost sense-free, and for another, I have a generally low attraction to virgins. As my German woman friend who is a retired porn-vid star says, “Don’t give me virgins; they don’t know anything.”

  7. Deb Platt

    December 7, 2013 at 5:12 am

    I don’t think I’ve come across the “five-bladed” shears. I do have a pair of kitchen shear with just two blades. Besides cutting up herbs with it, I often use them to cut up stewed tomatoes while they are still in the can before using them in a recipe.

    • derwandersmann

      December 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      I saw someone on the telly do that, just the other night. Right in the can, but I think they were just plain whole tomatoes. I’ve done that, too … whole tomatoes or canned mushrooms … right in the pot while they’re cooking. You open the can and dump ’em in, and then you say to yourself, “Oh cripe! These are too big.” and reach for the scissors.

  8. derwandersmann

    December 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    herb scissors photo ResizeofResizeofP8087280copy_zps92f3d36c.jpg

    Finally got the damned thing to show up.

  9. pammiejean48

    December 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Sounds delicious dW. I’ve made something very similar. I like my spinach cut up too and find it more appetizing to look at. Have never seen scissors like that! In craft stores, I’ve seen those scissors that can cut zigzags and curves. That would be kinda fun.

    • derwandersmann

      December 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      I had never seen them until Gwen died, either. I found them in her kitchen drawer, but you know how all kitchens have “junk drawers” where all sorts of irrelevant things get stuck, because there’s no other place they belong, so I never associated them with food; I thought they were for shredding things like documents and credit cards, but I found out real quick that they were really rotten for that. I stumbled on the proper application strictly by accident … more by good luck than good wit, as we used to say in Maine (I consider myself an Honorary Mainiac). But the Google search turned up the proper use and name, and since then I’ve seen them in kitchen-supply places.
      Maine, 1954, I think:
      stonington, 1954 photo ResizeofOldBampWPrint-Stonington4_zpsa06c1f67.jpg
      Hmmmm … looks like I could work on that old shot a bit.

      • pam

        December 11, 2013 at 1:37 am

        What a lovely place. Peaceful.

  10. Jill Riter

    December 10, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I made some variations on this theme since I read this post. My family loved the pasta nights!

    • derwandersmann

      December 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      There are many variations possible; some things do not lend themselves to this sort of thing, but many things do. Feel free.

      • Jill

        December 12, 2013 at 5:39 am

        Definitely agree. The second night i neglected the basil. It’s good that I did!

  11. derwandersmann

    December 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Pam: The place is Stonington, Maine, on Deer Isle in the Penobscot Bay. The place was made famous by John Marin, the watercolourist, who painted many scenes there:

    Damn, it was nice seeing those again!

    The day was very foggy and the flat lighting made photography kinda difficult, which accounts for the low contrast in the shot.

    • pam

      December 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      Love those watercolors!

      • derwandersmann

        December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

        Aren’t they something? Growing up in the milieu that I did, I fell in love with his work at a very early age. I frequently find his influence in some of my dad’s work.


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