Monday, May 16, 2011

Aglio Olio- Easy Comfort Food

I have to credit Rachael Ray's show "30 Minute Meals" for really getting me to love cooking. I started watching her as a young newlywed- over 8 years ago. I would watch her show, figure I could make whatever she was, then go try it on my own. Not everything turned out great, but I started to learn how to cook, and learning to love cooking. I don't use a lot of her recipes anymore, since most contain a lot of cheese or milk, but I am thankful for her cookbooks, and for her cooking show.

I believe that cooking is something that is personal and everyone develops their own styles. Over the years my style has changed- especially since our change to all Dairy Free. But some recipes remain favorites- the following is one of those.
I first learned how to make Aglio Olio from "30 Minute Meals". I have changed it a lot over the 8 years I have been making this, but the method remains the same. I have permanently omitted the anchovies- the girls would not like that flavor at all. And I have added different veggies depending on the time of year, and what I have on hand. What I love about this recipe is I always have the ingredients on hand for a simple Aglio Olio. This is good no matter the season- I love it in the winter paired with a crusty bread and a glass of Merlot, or in the summer with a salad and a glass of Pino Grigio or Riesling.

I am sharing the recipe I used the other night, but please change it to fit your tastes. If you do, let me know what you add to it.

Linguine noodles (Or pasta of your choice)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- a few tablespoons
Dairy free margarine- a tablespoon
4-6 cloves Garlic- minced or pressed with a garlic press
2 fresh tomatoes- diced (in the winter I used canned)
1 lb fresh asparagus (in winter I use frozen)
1/2-1 bag fresh baby spinach
fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil your linguine according to the directions on the package.
While pasta is boiling, steam the asparagus until bright green, but still crisp. I do this in about a half inch of water in the saute pan. When the asparagus is done, I drain the water.

Remove asparagus and chop into large pieces.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add dairy free margarine to the heated oil (if desired- you can choose to omit this and just add a little extra oil.)

Add the minced garlic to the pan, letting it cook for a minute. Add the asparagus, tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Let cook until the tomatoes start to soften.

At this point I added some fresh basil I have been growing in my garden.

I rolled it, chopped it into long thin pieces, and added it to the veggies.

Once the pasta is done, add the spinach- it only takes a couple minutes to cook down.
Start with this:

And you end up with this in just a couple minutes:

Once the spinach is cooked down, add your pasta:

Combine well, and let cook for a minute or two.

I have added white wine to this before as well, but I only do that when I am making for my husband and me, not as a family meal.

However, this was my cooking buddy:

I did not get a good picture of it once it was served up.

There are so many changes you could make to this: add red pepper flakes to the oil before you add the veggies, add different veggies, add shrimp (I'm allergic to shrimp so I don't add it), whatever you choose. This is a great quick week night meal, or a simple movie night meal. Whatever you do with it, whenever you have it, I hope you enjoy it!


  1. Mmmm so simple, but looks so good!!

    Great recipe!

  2. Thanks! It is super simple and there are so many ways to change it and add to it. One of the first things I learned how to cook, and it's still a go-to recipe for us. Broccoli is also great in it- with a little lemon juice added to the oil and butter.

  3. You know what is one of my favorite things about your food blog that also sets it head and shoulders above the others - your food photography! They really add a lot to your blog and how to cook your recipes.

  4. Thanks Rose! That compliment really means a lot! I take pictures of everything and I do, and actually I don't have a fancy camera at all- I use our Canon PowerShot. I would like to take some photography lessons in the future though. I actually have a couple friends who are photographers and have thought about asking them. Thanks so much for this- it made my day!