Last Modified: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:02 PM
On Monday, flavors of Italy swirled around in my culinary mind, and that led me to cooking a simple spaghetti dish.
Spaghetti aio oio is an old Roman dish that consists of pasta, garlic, chili pepper, olive oil and grated cheese.
Artichoke hearts and mushrooms ended up in the pot with my version.
When the dish was done, I enjoyed my homemade dinner that included a spring vegetable salad, fresh bread and a glass of wine.
Sometimes I forget how versatile pasta is.
Normally I like to eat pasta with a red sauce made with lots of fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, basil and a dash of red wine. When eating the finished product, the only care I have exists if a white shirt is wrapped around my body.
But sometimes a pasta does not need to be adorned with a colorful and robust sauce.
“The strands of spaghetti were vital, almost alive in my mouth, and the olive oil was singing with flavor. It was hard to imagine that four simple ingredients (olive oil, pasta, garlic and cheese) could marry so perfectly,” former Gourmet magazine editor-in-chief and famed food writer Ruth Reichel wrote in the book “Tender at the Bone”.
As I wrapped those noodles around my fork and slowly prepared for my first bite, the pleasant aroma of garlic and cheese gently danced around my nose and mouth and tantalized my olfactory senses.
I ate slowly. For the first time in a very long while, I sensed the different flavors on my plate and was amazed just like Reichel.
I have eaten simply prepared dishes before and felt just as inspired, but every now and then a moment of kitchen perfection — or as close to one as possible — occurs. When it does, it is etched in your culinary soul.
The recipe that follows is from my kitchen.
I encourage you to try it. Make the additions and subtractions you are comfortable with.
Ultimately, I hope you enjoy a simple yet flavorful dining moment that will etch its way into the deepest part of you cooking life.
Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 494-4090.