The dish that made Scarlett Johanson Moan!
Mario Puzo. Francis Coppola. Marlon Brando. Al Pacino. James Caan...You know where I am going with this right?
I am going to pull you headlong into the world of the Godfather, Don Vito Corleone today.
Imagine falling into a Pensieve (Harry Potter's magical potion holding vessel which can take you back into another time), and landing straight in the midst of a hardcore Sicilian crime familia, replete with the Godfather, a prodigal, reluctant son returning to take the reins from his ailing father and loads of Italian clandestine crime drama thrown into the mix.What follows is one of the best viewing time of your life. There isn't much to not love about the movie, or the book Godfather.
Mario Puzo paints a rather chilling image in our minds with the haunting words in his book..and Coppola takes it a step ahead and manages to firmly implant the drama of this particular Sicilian family as one of the most coveted movies of all time.
I think I grabbed my copy of the book when I was around 14. Needless to say my parents weren't too happy with it!! But boy oh boy..was I enamored by it!!
The whole crime drama, the description of the Italian family..the way the Godfather was someone I could even respect (forget the crimes), the way Micheal returns to hold up the fort for his dad, getting a glimpse into the human side of the mob, the way Puzo managed to show that even the crime lords are not untouched by love, or emotions..and finally, the prodigal son avenging his father and brother's murder in his characteristic cool and calm manner. "Revenge is a dish that tastes best served cold".
True??? Heck Yeah! Or so the Godfather would have me believe!
But apart from the brilliant story, the haunting music by Nino Rato, the absolute perfection of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino giving a new meaning to the term "chilling glance", there was something else that piqued my interest.
It was the description of the way of their lives..the way Italian women look after their families..how music and dance are such a part of their celebrations..the way they value their family and friendship above everything else..and the food! And it had everything in just the right quantity.
It struck a chord with me, coz that's how I see Indians too. Rooted in family and traditions, with an innate respect for the elders, love and food forming the core of our families.
And the food???
Well, we both love our spices, tomatoes, garlic and complex flavors! It's all about layering a dish with complex flavors. Our food is not necessarily loud as most people believe.
I have always Italian food...the country ..its scenic beauty...the wine..the food.. everything about it.
In fact, I feel I was an Italian in my previous life ;)
So that day, when I saw those cherry tomatoes languishing in my refrigerator and those fresh fat shrimps, I didn't need to think twice before deciding on the dinner menu. I decided it was about time I blog about one of my favorite Italian meals of all time. Spaghetti!!
I love the long noodles...swirling it around my fork..picking it up and sucking it in..with sauce coating it all .yummm!
Though I love the good ole spaghetti with meat balls and a typical tomato sauce, there are days when I want something simpler, faster and oh so much easier!!
That's when this Spaghetti Aglio-e- Olio comes into play.
And by the way did you know that THIS is the pasta that made Scarlett Johanson moan!!!
Have you seen the movie Chef??? No??! Well grab a copy ASAP and go watch it, weave your food dreams with it..and yes, moan with it. Just don't watch it on an empty stomach. Promise me?? You will end up stuffing yourself with anything and everything as you drool on pretty much all the food shown in the movie, and I don't want to be blamed for all the extra lovin' your waist will get ;)
I added some shrimps to it, and some cherry tomatoes too.. But if you want to keep it even simpler, feel free to leave those out. Just as yumm as a naked bowl of pasta, as it is dressed with these juicy plump shrimps/prawns and those perfect cherry tomatoes!
I love losing myself to the hiss and inhaling the flavored smoke as the shrimps hit the grilling pan..Can you hear it too?? Smell it?? It's got lime, pepper, fresh parsley and that's everything you need to make your kitchen smell like heaven!!
As for the pasta.. ?? Moan baby Moan!
Its Aglio-e -Olio, which translated simply means spaghetti with garlic (aglio) and olive oil (olio) and that in itself is quite amazing my friend. This is the kind of pasta you will find in true Sicilian households, the kinds where age-old wrinkled "Nona's" still cook the best food ever, the type which is so simple it will take you back to a simpler time, and lets not forget, the type of pasta that made "her" moan!!
Make this today. Or any time you have 20 minutes to spare, coz that's all it takes to make this fabulous true to its origin pasta dish.
PS: It did make Dayddylonglegs P moan too!! :P :P
Serving : 2
Total time taken : 20 minutes + 15 minutes marinating time
Serving Suggestions: Its a meal in itself with a glass of fruity white wine or dry martini.
You can serve a small dish of salad green on the side and a portion of garlic cheese bread.
- Spaghetti - a handful for every person who's going to eat.
- Shrimps/ Prawns - 12 pieces
- Cherry tomatoes - 10 ripe ones
- Garlic cloves - 1 full head, chopped really fine. (reduce if desired)
- Olive Oil - 3-4 tablespoon
- Red Chillie Flakes - 2 tablespoon (adjust acc to taste)
- Parsley - 2 teaspoon, chopped fine
- Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoon, freshly grated.
- Mixed Italian herb 1 teaspoon.
- Salt and Pepper as per taste
Marinade for the shrimps:
- Lemon Juice, 2 teaspoon.
- Olive Oil - 2 teaspoon.
- Garlic clove - 2, minced.
- Red chillie flakes - 1/2 teaspoon.
- Cilantro, 1 teaspoon, freshly chopped fine.
- Salt & pepper as per taste
- Start by marinating the shrimps in the above-listed ingredients 15 minutes prior to you start cooking.
- Mix everything in a bowl, toss the shrimps in it, ensure the shrimps are coated well in it and let it rest.
- Next cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions, drain and keep aside. Reserve some of the pasta water too.
- When it's time to start dinner, begin by chopping the garlic cloves and the parsley fine.
- Heat up a grilling pan, add just a touch of olive oil to it, and cook the shrimps 3 minutes on either side till cooked and plump. The flesh of the cooked plump should look white, take care not to overcook the prawns.
- Next, pour the olive oil in a large pan. Once hot, add the garlic to it and saute on low heat till its golden and fragrant. Please make sure the garlic isn't burnt. Very important.
- When the garlic is done, add the red chili flakes and Italian herbs to it and let it brown for 30 secs.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, salt and it with the garlic, chillie flakes till blistered.
- Next add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss well.
- Add some of the reserved pasta water ( 2 tablespoon) and let it heat up well till the pasta is well coated with the garlic and chili flakes. Takes about 5 minutes max. Use a tong to lift and twirl the pasta so that all the strands are coated well.
- Remove to a serving bowl, add the parsley, shave over some parmesan, toss well.
- Add the juicy shrimps, a drizzle of Olio if desired and serve!!
Sit down with your mi amore, open that bottle of vino, slide Godfather into the DVD player, and sit back for the best 175 mins of your life, and enjoy the true essence of Italian food!