Here is an old favorite from my family repertoire - simple, easy, satisfying. Published April-May, 2007, in Casa Fiore #29, please enjoy this one from the archives!
Surrounding the rosary and funeral of our patriarch Adamo Rossetti, we celebrated his nearly 91 years of gusto for life by cooking up his favorite dish in his Capitol Hill kitchen at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This simple and essential, salt-of-the-earth dish harkens back to the blood of my Southern Italian roots. Each time we prepare aglio olio we pay homage to Auntie Rose, Grandma Carm, Pop, Na Nan, and Grandpa Rossetti, the crazy old man on 18th East, all straight out of Carbonara and Valenzano near Bari in the south. Aglio olio typifies what much of the general public views as quintessentially Italian food: garlic, anchovies, parsley, olive oil, and pastasciutt’. I’ve had this dish spruced up with a handful of capers or edgy olives, chopped tomatoes or mushrooms, hot pepper, and other additives, but this bare-bones rendition is the preparation I favor most.
1. Boil water for 1 lb. of dry pasta, which is preferred over its fresh counterpoint for this dish. Mince lots of garlic—6-8 large cloves at least. Sauté over lowest heat in a pan generously coated in olive oil (1/3 cup) until translucent.
2. Pat oil from 1 tin of anchovies, chop coarsely, and add to garlic. Sauté until anchovies melt. Throw pasta into boiling water. Throw a large handful of chopped parsley into garlic-anchovy-oil sauce.
3. Drain pasta when al dente (or literally, “at the teeth”, firm and not soft and soggy), reserving a couple of tbsp. of the water. Then mix pasta, sauce, and water together and, if you like, season with spoonfuls of pecorino romano cheese. Give a big smile for Grandpa Rossetti and enjoy!