Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pasta with Spanish Rosemary Olive Oil

If you are looking for a light, and simple midweek meal, often comes to mind. This is a recipe that you can make in literally minutes, it's delicious as a dish, or you can add cooked chicken or shrimp to it, if you like - the Parmesan cheese is also optional.

The pasta is first cooked, then sauteed in virgin olive oil, with garlic and parsley, and seasoned. The I used is Mallafre Olive Oil Pressed with Rosemary from Catalonia, Spain, and is available in the Gourmet Fusion store.

Unlike other herb oils, this olive oil is not flavored or infused, but the sprigs of fresh rosemary have been pressed together with the olives and allowed to naturally separate and mellow, resulting in a fragrant Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a light scent and light after taste. I have used this oil before as a dip, and wondered whether the rosemary taste would be too strong in a pasta such as this, however, once mixed with the pasta and other ingredients, the rosemary flavor is remarkably subtle, and does not overwhelm the dish at all. If you do not have flavored olive oil such as this, you can either infuse your own with a sprig of fresh rosemary for about 10 - 15 minutes, or add fresh or dried to the oil while cooking.

Pasta with Spanish Rosemary Olive Oil
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 6 oz dried rigatoni or penne
  • 4 tablespoons Rosemary Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Several sprigs of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 4 oz cooked chicken or shrimp, if desired
  1. Boil the water for the pasta, then add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the timing on the instructions (usually between 10-12 minutes for al dente pasta).
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. First crush the garlic, then roughly chop the Italian parsley, saving a few sprigs for garnish.
  3. When the pasta is almost done, heat the rosemary olive oil in a saute pan (or if using plain olive oil heat in a pan and then add the rosemary).
  4. Saute the fresh garlic in the rosemary oil for 2 minutes.
  5. If you are using chicken or shrimp add this to the oil mixture and coat.
  6. Add the pasta to the oil, and mix in the Italian parsley, salt and pepper.
  7. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes until the pasta is completely coated with the oil and garlic mixture.
  8. Garnish with parsley sprigs, and serve with additional black pepper and Parmesan cheese.

This meal can be served with a green salad, and is great with a dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

If I am not in the mood for wine, I also like it with a glass of Pellegrino and a slice of lemon.

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