Thursday, May 26, 2011

Under The Tuscan Sun with Garlic and Greens Spaghetti

In my mind I've run away to Tuscany so many times that I've lost count.  I've taken leisurely rides through the gorgeous countryside, strolled through the Uffizi, got drunk on wine and limoncello, and ate everything that crossed my path.  I've made pasta from scratch in a gorgeous rustic kitchen and even picnicked with a strikingly handsome Italian man.  Naturally in these dreams I'm in my twenties, single, several pounds lighter and without children.  Sometimes one can only dream.

In reality I'm very far from Tuscany.  Here in rural Kentucky it is raining for about the 100th day in a row.  My 4 year old son is wearing cheese puffs all over his face like it's his job and my 10 year old daughter is nagging me that she's hungry even though she just ate.  I can't even remember the last time I had a good stiff drink, saw fine art, or went on a picnic, and my poor husband is working about ten hours a day.  What's more is that I'm no where near my twenties, in fact this year I'll be closer to 40 than 30.  Yikes, where does the time go?

So, the only consolation prize I could think of was to make a huge pot of spaghetti, with no less than 18 cloves of garlic, and watch Under The Tuscan Sun.  Because if you can't go to Italy in person, then you might as well go there in the movies. 

Garlic and Greens Spaghetti
Adapted from the new Food Network Great Easy Meals
Serves 4

18 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about 2 heads)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and sliced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
Kosher salt
12 cups torn winter greens, such as kale, chard, escarole or mustard greens (about 2-1/2lbs.)
12 ounces spaghetti
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, cook the garlic in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes.  (Be careful not to overbrown the garlic or it will taste bitter.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic chips to a paper-towel-lined-plate.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons oil into a small bowl to use as a dip for crusty bread, if desired.  Add the onions and red pepper flakes to the oil in the pan; cook, stirring, until the onions are light brown, about 10 minutes.  Season with 1-1/2 teaspoons salt.

When the onions are almost done, add the greens to the boiling water and cook, uncovered, until just tender, about 2 minutes.  Using tongs, remove the greens, shaking off the excess water; add them to the skillet with the onions (set the pot of water aside).  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.

Return the cooking water to a boil.  Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes.  Remove and reserve about 1 cup cooking water; drain the pasta and transfer to a serving bowl.  Add the cheese and toss.  Add the greens and some of the reserved pasta water and toss, adding more water as necessary to keep the pasta from clumping.  Top with the garlic chips.

Per serving: calories 565; fat 16g (sat 4g); cholesterol 8 mg; sodium 940mg; carbs 28g; fiber 4g; protein 28g

Yummy slivers of fried garlic.....
Notes/Results:  Warning....I LOVE garlic, but this may very well be the most garlicky thing I've ever ate in my life.  I did love this meal, but I will warn you that if you chose to make this then you should be prepared to smell like garlic and taste like garlic for a good day or more.  That being said, this is a delicious meal, exactly right up my alley.  Eighteen cloves of garlic are sliced and toasted in olive oil until just golden brown.  Note:  Toasted garlic is not mellow like roasted garlic, it is quite potent still.  The pasta is tossed with sauteed onions, kale, a little bit of pasta water, pecorino, and then topped with the garlic chips.  An added bonus with this recipe is that the oil the garlic has been toasted in can be saved and used for dipping crusty bread into.  Garlicky pasta, garlicky oil for bread dipping, and a good can you beat that?  Now, if only I looked like Diane Lane....

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  1. I make something similar with spinach....this looks and sounds delicious,Kim! Love the picture!

  2. This is my favorite way to eat pasta in the spring. And I taught the kids early - so they can always have an inexpensive, healthy, fast dinner! I hear you with the rain - I had to go to Chicago to see the sun. Meanwhile, rain all of Memorial Day weekend. Can you say "cookout" in the garage? Maybe we should all book tickets to Tuscany.

  3. All the magic of Italy is in this pasta. Beautiful recipe!

  4. LMAO, I bet you were running off vampires for miles around. I do hate that the next day though, when you are wondering, "Can anyone else smell me like I can?"

    Sounds like a great meal, I might just dial back the garlic a touch.

  5. Your movie choice was perfect. It captures the magic of Italy, as does your wonderful pasta. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. Sometimes I feel like running away too. But I'm thinking I'll just stay put, eat this, then everyone will run away from me. That way I don't have to go anywhere AND I get a tasty meal!

    Beautiful garlic, Kim!

  7. LOVE IT...especially the daydreams and the two whole heads of garlic! Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

  8. Loved it!!!
    First tym here....You a wonderful place
    Happy following u

  9. Stopping in after a long break from blogging. This looks fabulous! Try this with some sauteed broccoli as well. And my secret is to add in some good crumbled blue cheese into the pasta before serving. It gets a little melt-y and creamy....Ciao, Bella!

  10. My favorite way to travel is through food! And I have serious dreams of going to Tuscany also. We should have a blogger trip at some point. How awesome would that be, all of us traipsing around Italy?

    THis pasta looks AMAZING. Exactly the kind of thing I crave constantly.

  11. Get out of my dreams, woman! ;P LOL, this is such a great post and if we were closer, I SO would have enjoyed piling up my bowl with this meal of beauty, opening a bottle of wine, and watching Under the Tuscan Sun with you!! It's beautiful, Kim...thanks so much for bringing this to Food 'n Flix this month. And GORGEOUS photos! =)

  12. So true, if only we looked like Diane Lane. Loved this movie and could watch it several times more.

    Thanks for the honesty about the garlic in this. It truly looks lovely. Hope you and the cheese puff guy have a great Memorial day weekend Kim.

  13. Kim, I love this post! This sounds like the perfect way to travel when you can't really get away! Boy have I been there girlfriend! This pasta dish sounds amazing to me and I can't wait to try it! Your pictures are absolutely awesome! Did you submit them to fg of ts?

  14. I would totally come down and eat this with you! It has been miserable here too - and is downright chilly today - but tomorrow is supposed to heat up again.
    I could just dive into that pasta. ☺

  15. Oh, this could easily be my last meal! I make alio e olio this way; I could eat garlic chips like candy (ugh, say the people who have to deal with me the day after). Seriously, this simple pasta is one of the best.

  16. wonderful and fun post made me smile your awesome and what a great dish of pasta

  17. kim, i totally hear you! i so wish we lived closer so we could enjoy pasta like this while our boys ate cheetoes together, lol! i hope that rain subsides soon!

  18. With the ash clouds looming .... probably the best way to visit Italy at the moment!!!

    Brownieville Girl

  19. Kim, you're killing me! 18 cloves of garlic. Wow! I love it. Thanks for the warning though, lol. We've had about 100 days of rain here in Toronto too. Sigh................. Have a a great (and hopefully dry) weekend!

  20. You crack me up! Great post - really put a smile on my face this morning!

  21. I am totally picturing your son's cheese puff covered face! Too funny!

    I love getting all wrapped up in that movie, it's one of my favorites. Great pasta...loving all that garlic! ;)

    Love your new blog design!

  22. I was living in Italy momentarily and vicariously through your perfectly penned words! I think that you ARE Italian, Kim! I loved reading this post so much that I read it to my husband, because he heard me laughing out loud several times! After he asked, 'what's so funny?', and after I read it to him, he said, "She writes very well, doesn't she?" The recipe sounds so spring-y and light! Love all of the garlic! Bet the house smelled like Italy in Kentucky!

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new blog lay-out and your larger pictures!

  23. The more garlic the better for me. This looks delicious and is a perfect pick for a fun movie.

  24. That is a lot of garlic but I think, I would love it.

  25. My goodness...that is a bit of garlic... Where I come from, 2 heads is one thing, but 18 cloves is another. Still...2 heads is two heads... YUMMMM!
    Can't wait to try this! Have greens to eat or feed to critters...wouldn't mind eating some ourselves! LOL! Great recipe!

  26. Number one, Under The Tuscan Sun is one of my favorite movies, and number two, I love pasta and greens! This rocks! Oh, by the way, if you do by chance randomly fly off to Tuscany...let me know! Peace!

  27. This looks so so delicious! Despite the copius amounts of garlic! Will try.


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