Saturday, June 7, 2008

Martha's Pasta

When Ms. Stewart's magazine first debuted about 16 years ago I was a huge devotee, and a charter subscriber. But with time I became disillusioned and found I was more a Sandra Lee kind of gal. In the old days Martha's recipes and projects looked easy. Maybe too easy - but they were overly ambitious for a novice maker girl. There were many tragic meals at my table, courtesy of Martha. But being naive and tenacious I thought for certain I would persevere.

Then there was the last straw.

A fall issue of Living featured a pumpkin candle that had this beautiful patina. Living in Miami as I did at the time - where you don't really experience the seasons, makes these things all the more seductive. I had never carved a pumpkin. And, remember these were the days before Pottery Barn and every other mass retailer on the planet made this kind of thing readily available.

I convinced myself and a friend into thinking this was going to be a great way to spend a fall afternoon. We spent a about a hundred dollars on candle making supplies, and who knows how much on pumpkins and squash. The idea was to hollow out the vegetables and use them as a mold. The patina was supposed to come from the moisture in the veg. On the way home we congratulated ourselves on our resourcefulness. You see by now we planned to become great candle makers and sell our wares. Three hours, and two ruined pans later I had pumpkin guts and candle wax on every kitchen surface imaginable. Not to mention our hair, and clothes. All we had to show for our efforts were a couple of sad lumps of wax that could loosely be called candles. They were so ugly I could not use them for anything other than a power outage. I cancelled my subscription.

To this day I had never again attempted anything that Martha recommended. No matter how tempting the arrangement or gorgeous the cookie I held firm in my resolve.

Tonight Martha redeemed herself. Since we are on a diet and a budget (who isn't?) I decided to one of her recipes a whirl. I used whole grain pasta and substituted wilted fresh spinach rather than the parsley the recipe calls for. It was fantastic.

Serves 4
1 head plus 8 cloves garlic
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, for grating

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap garlic head in foil, or place in garlic roaster; roast until soft and golden, about 1 hour. Let cool, trim tip of head; squeeze out cloves, using back of knife. Transfer to small bowl; set aside.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, and run under cold water to stop cooking.
Thinly slice five cloves of unroasted garlic. Finely chop remaining three cloves. Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add sliced garlic; toast until golden and crisp. Remove garlic with slotted spoon; set aside. Add chopped garlic; saute until translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add roasted garlic and white wine; let simmer about 3 minutes. Add pasta, parsley, red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste; toss. Serve sprinkled with toasted garlic slivers. Grate Parmesan over each serving.

recipe and photo courtesy Martha Stewart


Margaret said...

It looks like a good recipe!

Generally, my complaint with most of Martha's recipes is that they are needlessly complicated--too many ingredients! Same goes for the crafts--too many steps.

Sometimes simple is best!

The Other Side of Me said...

You are right. Most of the MS recipes I have tried have been hit or miss, but I will give this one a try.

Have a good weekend.