Last week, in my "What do You Want" post, a reader named Lois offered a recipe for something which sounded very tasty - an easy alternative to my favorite boiled spaghetti with Olive oil (or butter) and salt & pepper. Feeling lazy today after getting home from the farmer's markets (as usual), I decided to give it a try. It is super easy, and very tasty. As a matter of fact, I might go so far as so say that the almond/garlic combination might be the vegetarian answer to bacon. What I mean by that is that carnivore wisdom tells you that everything is better with bacon. But, well, I'm trying to reduce my bacon - and other high-cholesterol meat - consumption these days (a fact which I apparently forgot last night when consuming bone marrow custard & foie gras at work).
I bought some Susanville (I think that's the variety) garlic, a very mild and sweet garlic, from Red Brick Farms today at the Worthington Farm market. This mellow garlic is the perfect variety here.
The only change I made to Lois' recipe is using plain old spaghetti instead of angel hair, because I didn't have any angel hair. I even made a variation to the recipe by throwing in some Swiss chard to which I gave the same garlic/almond treatment, along with red pepper flakes.
Spaghetti with Almonds & Garlic - for one
2 oz spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, to taste, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp almonds, crushed (I used Marcona almonds, because they are delicious, and what I had on hand)
salt & pepper
Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-low heat and add about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cook the garlic for about 4 minutes, being very careful not to allow it to burn! Add the almonds and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the almonds are fragrant (the aroma is really something). When the pasta is finished cooking, add it to the garlic and almond mixture, adding just a pinch more olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Swiss Chard - this works well as a side dish or very healthy pasta addition. Chard is good for you
3-4 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp almonds, crushed
red pepper flakes
1 bunch (about 10 stalks) chard, trimmed and chopped (chop the stems very thinly, and then leave the leaves a little larger) and washed in several changes of water
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (good please)
Cook the garlic and almonds as directed above, along with the red pepper flakes, and add the chard. Season liberally with salt and a little pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the chard has become soft. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook another minute or two. Toss with the pasta or serve on it's own.