Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aglio ed Olio: A Christmas Pasta

Every Christmas Eve, as we grew up, there was a huge meal of various seafood. This was a tradition was known in some households as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Because we lived in New England, near the coast, fresh seafood was abundant.

Wilipedia explains: "The "Feast of the Seven Fishes" is said to have come from Southern Italy, but today is a completely Italian-American celebration.
A dinner on Christmas Eve is celebrated with meals of fish and seafood, but there may be seven, eight, or even nine specific fishes that are considered traditional.

 The most famous dish Southern Italians are known for is Baccalà (salted cod fish). Reasons for celebrating with such a simple fish as Baccalà is attributed to the greatly impoverished regions of Southern Italy.

 Fried Smelts, calamari, and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years, and sensationalized with the American version of "The Seven Fishes.""

Our meals in New England consisted of several calamari dishes, smelts, and of course the dried cod known as Baccalà. Thrown in were clams and shrimp, as well as other local seafood, like fillet of sole (flunder).

I can still smell these fishes frying and being baked by my mom.

The following pasta dish was always a favorite. We never could pronounce it correctly, but we still love it!

Aglio ed Olio (Garlic and Oil)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3-4 Cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 Cans of anchovies in oil
  • 1 lb. of your favorite pasta
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Put olive oil in sauté pan over medium-low heat.

  2. Add minced garlic.

  3. Slowly cook garlic. (Be careful not to burn the garlic, as it will turn bitter. )

  4. Add anchovies and crumble with a fork. Set aside.

  5. Cook pasta in about 4 quarts of water. Add a dash of salt, pepper, and oil.
    (The oil seems to keep the pasta from sticking.)

  6. After the pasta is cooked, reserve about 11/2 cups of the pasta water. The pasta water is your liquid for the sauce. Drain pasta.

  7. Put the pasta water back in the sauce pan with the garlic, olive oil and anchovies. Reheat the mixture. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you.

  8. Toss the completed mixture with the pasta. Reserve a small amount for additional sauce.

Pizza on Earth, Good Will to All!

albert grande

You can find some great olive oil, here:

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