Thursday, July 5, 2007

Cauliflower Spaghetti “Aglio Olio” - Hello Old Friend

Well, I thought I had found them all, but this clip that I posted on YouTube a long time ago never made it to this blog. So, while some of you may have watched it there, here is the official article and recipe ingredient list. As you watch, it will be obvious this was done long before the new equipment and it sure looks and sounds like it. I mean I didn’t even wear a Chef jacket back then! But, it really is a great (and easy) recipe and I hope you give it a try.

In my opinion, one of life’s simple pleasures is the classic spaghetti “aglio olio.” Pasta tossed with lots of garlic, oil, and maybe some butter and cheese. For those of us that grew up in Italian-American homes, this might have been the first pasta dish we ever tasted. My mother did a variation on this comfort classic by adding chopped cauliflower which as a youngster I always enjoyed. Like most kids I hated cauliflower in any other form, but for some reason when it was in spaghetti “aglio olio” it was delicious! One health tip: if you want to lower the calories in this dish, you can cut down the oil and butter a bit and add more pasta water to lighten the recipe. Having said that, don’t do it.

For whatever reason, as an adult I kind of forgot about this dish. For me, the cauliflower area of the produce section is certainly not a destination by any means. During a phone call with mom she told me she couldn’t talk any longer as she was just about to drain some pasta for this dish. It brought back so many happy food memories that I ran out and got some cauliflower and went to work. It had probably been 7 or 8 years since I had made this pasta dish and I savored every bite. It was like running into a dear old friend you haven’t seen for a very long time. Enjoy!

1 large head of cauliflower
1 pound spaghetti
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 stick butter
6 cloves crushed garlic
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped basil and/or Italian parsley


Chef Tom said...

This sounds great! I think I'll try it out tomorrow night. I'll prolly add a little more red pepper flakes for some extra kick !

Anonymous said...

Looks pretty tasty. Do you still eat this dish? And man, how long have you had that plate? It's like your all time favorite dish!It looks like you moved to a new place a little. By the way, Chef aren't you in the catering business?

Chef John said...

The site is now my full time job and it leaves no time to cater. Yes, that is my favorite bowl! No we didnt move.

Balu said...

Spaghetti aglio olio is the best, period.

Chef Tom said...

I finally got around to making this tonight for dinner. It was a complete hit! :-) Thanks!

clepro said...

Just found your site. Gotta tear myself away soon and get home, but want to say what fun I'm having watching these. And, that the cauliflower section IS a destination for our family. Besides this same fabulous pasta (a standard comfort food for us), we often make a potato/cauliflower indian thingamajig and a simple dish of roasted cauliflower (1/2" slices, tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, roast at 450, turning often, until edges crispy). Great site; I'll be back soon.

Stephanie said...

I just made this but I made a couple changes - I added portabellas, extra garlic, and some white wine at the end.

Came out great. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

i made this today.. but used regular grated cheese from the supermarket, it is delicious.. who would have thought you can make such a tasty dish using cauliflower. Ive never been keen on cauliflower, but this dish tastes great and is really healthy.

Clara said...

I've made this a couple of times before, but tonight was by far my best effort! Used some fresh flat leaf parsley from my garden which really helped...

Here's a photo:

Thanks again for the recipe!

Atif said...

I just made this tonight, and it was great. The "plus" pasta is much-welcome. I've been trying to eat more whole-wheat pasta, but it's too "wheaty" sometimes. What I would do is try to mix half white and half wheat, but this "plus" pasta is the happy convenient medium.
Another nice cauliflower recipe besides the cauliflower soup. Thanks.

Brandy said...

Love your site very much. I'm wondering if I can add chicken to this recipe. Would you recommend adding it to the recipe or on the side?

Chef John said...

Good either way! You can't break this recipe.

Zenina said...

Hi Chef! I think this is the dish I'm going to make next weekend to impress this guy I'm seeing. There's only one caveat: he hates cauliflower!

Could you kindly make some recommendations for good substitutions? I really would like to add something more the (already-good) traditional dish.

Thanks so much in advance!

Chef John said...

I'm confused... why in the world would you choose this recipe for someone that doesn't like cauliflower?!

We have so many other recipes. Make something he loves!!

Toshiko Suisei said...

Wow Chef John, this was delicious! Thanks! I was having a what-do-I-do-with-this-head-of-cauliflower moment and found your recipe. I was nervous because, well, it seemed weird -- but it turned out so flavorful and yum!

Instead of raw garlic, I used about 1/4 c roasted garlic cloves (from the olive bar at market) that I mashed up and added just before the pasta water. I cooked the pasta water down and because I had about 2 Tbls of whole milk left in a pint, I threw that in with the grated Reggiano. Very nice touch of spice with the red pepper flakes!

Though it's pretty far from your recipe, I had a big handful of large Florida shrimp that I cleaned but left shelled. I cooked them in the oil/butter, then pulled them out before proceeding with the chopped cauliflower. The shrimp were a perfect accompaniment for the pasta with a little lemony clarified butter for dipping.

La Sirène Glottique said...

Dear Chef,
I had a head of cauliflower and some rice spaghetti, and I thought to myself "let's see what Chef John's ideas are for these ingredients, he's always got some awesome, simple, delicious ideas." So I went to your blog and found out I was right. About 30 minutes later, my husband and I were enjoying some awesome summer dinner. So thank you!
I have learned very much watching your videos. I think you're adorable and just great at what you do!

Betsy Cottonflop said...

Tried making this subbing broccoli instead of cauliflower- very tasty!