I recently discovered Communal Table. The first post I received has been resonating with me on many levels–it was a welcome note to 2016 and talked about mindfulness and playfulness and food, of course, and included this inimitable line: “I don’t need someone else’s piousness moving in and making way too many kale & quinoa protein shakes, thank you very much. I am fully capable of eating a chocolate marshmallow-filled doughnut in January and still having good moral values.”
Author (and creator of Communal Table) Adrian Hale not only curates this beautiful site/community but bakes dark, whole grain breads that take me back to my childhood in Germany and loves vegetables as much as I do. I don’t even like marshmallows but the sentiment rings true. I crave vegetables and fresh food as much as the next after the holiday overload (always in fact) but let’s not take the ease and fun out of food and especially, let’s let the judgement go.
And with that, let’s have a big bowl of pasta for dinner where the only vegetable in site is the parsley, albeit quite a bit of it. Of course I did want (and had) a salad to go with it.
Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino
I’ve made this for years but was reminded of it by this recent post from Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovies, finely chopped (optional but even anchovy skeptics tend to like this dish and they melt completely so are unidentifiable at the table but add such depth.)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or if you have them, 1/2 tsp or more crumbled Calabrian dried peperoncino peppers or minced, dried Joe’s Long Cayenne or Ring of Fire peppers
1 lb spaghetti
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Good olive oil, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add more salt (like 2+ tablespoons) than you think necessary. Cook the pasta until al dente.
While the spaghetti is cooking heat the olive oil in a large skillet, that will later accommodate all the pasta, over medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and stir constantly for about 3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Mash the anchovies and garlic up a bit while you stir.
Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the garlic and anchovies, stir to coat and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the parsley, freshly ground pepper and a bit more of your best olive oil. Serve at once.