Organic, wholewheat pasta. At it’s simplest best.
Dressed in just garlic and olive oil. (Or “aglio e olio” in Italian.)
This is the version of spaghetti that I love the most.
It’s been a few years since this has replaced the original (the earlier favorite!) of white spaghetti tossed in butter and garlic.
But I admit, the search for the “healthier” alternative was not smooth and easy.
And, since pasta is only an occasional dish in our household, the trials, with most of the earliest versions being simply unexciting, took still longer.
Did I say wholewheat pasta was unexciting? No longer true.
These days it is possible to get high quality 100% organic, wholewheat pastas that are pretty much as good as their ‘refined’ counterparts.
With colours ranging from beige to tan, some are nearly identical to the white pasta, while some are “nuttier”, “earthier”, chewier, more grainy, but delicious nonetheless. And lend themselves well to experiments with innovative sauces!
There are even pastas made with many interesting and nutritious combinations like ragi, millet, oats, chickpea and other grains for variety!
1. When in doubt, opt for the “thinner, stringier” types of wholewheat pasta (eg. spaghetti) as opposed to the thicker types (like penne) because they are less likely to spring surprises, texture-wise.
2. Watch out for slightly bitter overtones in some of the mixed-millet varieties.
And why would anyone even want a recipe, let alone a step-by-step for such a simple, uncomplicated dish? Well, it’s a nice “reminder” of how easy too, Italian cooking can be!
And meanwhile, I have enjoyed making, documenting, and subsequently eating it of course.
So here we go.
(All organic ones, if you can manage it.)
1. Wholewheat Pasta: 200 gms
2. Good quality extra virgin olive oil: 1-2 TBS (or, to taste! – I used 1Tbs.)
3. Garlic pods: 5-6 (peeled and finely chopped)
4. Parsley: 1-2 small sprigs finely chopped (optional; I left this out.)
Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
Bring the salted water to boil in a pot.
Holding all the spaghetti from one end, immerse the other end into the pot of boiling water.
As it softens in the water, keep steadily immersing the rest of the length..
Bit by bit…
Turning it around to fit into the pot….
Until it’s all in.
Cook as per the time instructed.
The cooking time on the packaging is a pretty good estimate of the right time it takes to be perfectly “al dente” (chewy to bite) – but pressing a strand (the way you would a grain of rice being cooked) is also a good way to find out, if you forgot to keep track. It should be cooked, but firm.
Drain completely (no need to reserve the cooking liquid this time),
into a colander.
I place the steaming strands back into the empty pot to minimise heat and moisture loss while it waits..
In a wok or pan, heat the oil,
Toss in the cooked spaghetti and mix well.
And that’s it. It’s done.
Add some freshly milled pepper if you wish, and also the Parsley, if using, into the”Carb Heaven”.
If you add some chilly flakes (ideally at the garlic-sauteeing stage), but I add it at the table because of varied preferences, –
– then you have “Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino” (“spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chili peppers” in Italian)!
Dig (into) that!