Pasta aglio e olio; the simplest & most delicious chef’s pasta…

Have you ever noticed how gorgeous movie food looks? How glossy the sauces are, how plump the sausages, how vibrant the salads, how drippy the burgers, how beautiful the patisserie, basically how much it makes you want to eat despite the fact you’re not even vaguely hungry? Ok, well, I’m not sure I ever have that feeling because OH MY GOD, I’M ALWAYS HUNGRY…

…uh, apologies. Not sure where that came from but it’s probably got something to do with the fact that a) I am genuinely always snuffling around for the next thing to eat and b) I had the most amazing, wickedly good & suspiciously simple pasta dish recently and it’s this that we’re going to chat about today.

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Hands up who’s seen the film ‘Chef’? Oh good, that’s most of you…except you back there. Yeah, you in the red sweater…you’ve not seen ‘Chef’? Like, seriously not seen it? Ok well the minute you’ve finished reading this article – woah, woah, woah, WHEN you’ve finished it I said, not now, sit back down please – as I was saying, the minute you finish reading this article, go watch it, inhale it, devour it then come back here and we’ll get cooking.

It’s such a fantastic film, I can’t even tell you how much I adore it and the food they cook in it. Every time I watch it, I’m reminded not only of how much I love ingredients and dishes and menus and prepping and cooking but also of how really great food brings people together in ways nothing else can.

Cooking is an act of love, of support and of generosity and of nourishment. I want to feed you, your stomach and your heart, I want to welcome you to my table, to make you feel good and I want to see in your eyes that exact moment when you taste something and wonder how or why you’ve never had it before but you know you want it, you want a lot of it and you want it now and forever more.

If you want to make something for someone that makes them feel that way, this is the recipe to do it with – Pasta Aglio e Olio or ‘chef’s pasta’ as it’s known in our house, simply translated as ‘pasta with garlic and oil’. Created especially for the film by superstar chef and food-truck founder Roy Choi, it’s temptation on a plate. Seriously, if you’ve ever had a Korean taco that changed your life, you should probably send a quiet thank-you to the man whose modern way of thinking about food is totally influencing what we eat and how.

(For more information about the recipe or the other dishes from the film, head to chefthemovie.com)

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INGREDIENTS (for 2 people)

  • 225 grams of spaghetti (fresh or dried is fine, just follow cooking times on packet; I like to use wholewheat)
  • 120 ml of olive oil
  • 4 decent sized garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 110 grams flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 110 grams fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • rock salt & fresh black pepper

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METHOD

  • Put a large pan of salted water on to boil then add the spaghetti and cook according to the instructions; dried pasta will usually take around 10-12 minutes to leave it a little al dente (‘with bite’) and not soggy.
  • Heat your olive oil in another pan over a low to medium heat; you don’t want your oil too hot or your garlic will burn and be inedible and you will be very sad and hungry.
  • Add all of your sliced garlic and stir frequently until it turns golden brown.
  • Add your red pepper flakes and a generous pinch of rock salt and fresh black pepper; turn the heat down very low now while you finish your pasta.
  • Drain your spaghetti but do not rinse; you want the remnants of pasta water to ‘grab hold’ of the oil when you combine the two.
  • Add your drained spaghetti directly to the pan with the garlic & red pepper oil and gently mix everything together until each strand is coated with oil.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add your parsley and most of your Parmesan and toss everything together well.
  • Check your seasoning and add more salt & pepper if necessary.
  • Squeeze your lemon over everything to taste
  • Serve with the last of the Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

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I like to serve this with fresh crusty bread to mop up all of that gorgeous garlicky oil but you feel free to go ahead and lick the plate clean if needs be, you’ll find no judgement from me. A goldfish bowl sized glass of red wine also goes down a treat alongside it.

This is one of those dishes that looks as though it takes a hell of a lot more time & effort than it actually does. The reality is it’s simple and the beauty is you’ll get to sincerely enjoy & appreciate a few quality ingredients in one bowl.

The garlic is crazy sweet and pungent, the red pepper flakes add the tiniest dab of heat and the lemon cuts through the richness of the oil. All of that spooned onto twirls of soft pasta…swooning right now. Trust me when I say this is the dish to make when you wanna impress but doubt your own skills…it’s a glorious golden swirl of Italy guaranteed to seduce all who come before it.

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An afternoon spent with Jon Favreau and soft, sweet, delicious buns…

Dear Hollywood,

Please feel free to take the remainder of 2014 off because in ‘Chef’, you have delivered the movie of the year. Funny, sweet, touching, charming, inspiring and totally feel good with a brilliant script, awesome acting, a soundtrack to shake your Cubano-loving ass to and flawless food shots that made me want to run up to the 25ft screen at the front of the cinema and lick the glass – FAO all the doubters out there, wait till you see the grilled cheese and then tell me I’m wrong.

Thanks for such a great film and enjoy your extended vacation,
Love Edible Angel. xox

Ok kids, we’ve had a fantastic afternoon. We? That’d be me, the food junkie who dwells within and the every-bit-as-gorgeous-and-lovely-as-the-film J. A quiet lunchtime screening of ‘Chef’ followed by a late lunch/early dinner at ‘Flesh and Buns’ in Earlham Street.

A film labelled as ‘ultimate food porn’ followed by sampling one of the fastest growing trends in London right now? Oh hi perfect lazy Saturday afternoon, love your work.

I’ve been looking forward to ‘Chef’ since the first hunger-provoking trailer hit cinemas earlier this year. This is a simple story of a chef looking for a new direction in life, a way to re-connect with those closest to him and a reminder of why he fell in love with food in the first place. With a fantastic turn from director Jon Favreau as Carl, the chef driven to throwing handfuls of lava cake at a disagreeable Oliver Platt, the supporting cast delivers excellence across the board, the soundtrack blends Miami and LA together in an intoxicating medley that makes you want to channel your inner salsa queen and the food?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…from that afore-mentioned grilled cheese to a butter-slicked-and-toasted-till-golden Cubano sandwich to BBQ that comes out of its charcoal pit looking so good you can practically feel your nose twitching and your saliva glands go into overdrive, this is a film for those who like to a) eat food, b) cook food, c) look at food, d) talk about food, e) dream about food or f) enjoy a brief on-the-verge-of creepy-crazy Robert Downey Jr cameo. In short, it’s as close to a perfect little film as it’s possible to get and beautifully demonstrates why a good story told with heart & intelligence will always have a place in cinema and deservedly so.

Right, now that I’ve spent so much time lavishing praise onto this film that you might be wondering if Jon slipped me a tenner ahead of time, let me get o the actual food part of the afternoon. Flesh and Buns. Not ‘Fleshing Buns’ as a colleague somewhat bemusedly asked me on Friday afternoon. Flesh i.e. the meat and buns i.e. the gorgeous little hirata buns to fill with said meat.

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