La Pasta Affilata e Dolce
This pasta dish comes together rather quickly. It utilizes pantry and produce staples, so it’s a perfect Sunday dinner. [We go grocery shopping Sunday night, so we’re usually out of everything.] Affilata e Dolce means sharp and sweet. The onions, capers, and vinegar all contribute to the sharpness while the almonds, cooked garlic, and tomatoes balance sharp with sweet. I really liked this dish! It’s sort of a cross over Spanish+Italian pasta dish, which is a great representation of my heritage.
La Pasta Affilata e Dolce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 2 medium or 1 large white onion, sliced thinly
- 2 tbsp capers
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4-1 lb whole grain angel hair pasta
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted almonds
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet (or cast iron skillet) over medium-high flame.
Why? Olive Oil has a higher smoke temperature than Extra Virgin Olive Oil, so I always start with regular and add extra virgin toward the end.
Once the oil is hot, pour the onions in the pan and toss to coat. Add salt, (I use about 2 tsp?), capers and chunked tomatoes.
Why? Cooking the tomatoes over higher heat for a long period of time will break them down into almost a gel that coasts pasta perfectly. The salt will draw the moisture out of the onion and cook it to a golden brown color much sooner than it would take without salt. Adding the capers at this stage mellows their flavor, so the dish is perfect for caper haters and caper lovers alike.
Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often until everything is reduced into a sauce. Add the extra virgin olive oil and the minced garlic, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for another 2-4 minutes. Get the water on for the pasta.
Why? Adding the Extra Virgin Olive Oil at this stage keeps its fruity, nutty flavor intact. Garlic can’t withstand slight char like onions can, so it always requires a shorter sauté time. Additionally, it’s in much smaller pieces so it cooks quicker than the onions.
Add the vinegar and most of the almonds to the sauce. Reduce.
Why? Sharp capers+sharp vinegar=full sharpness, sweet almonds+ sweet tomatoes+sweet onions=balance between sharp and sweet. Cooking the vinegar mellows it.
Add salt to the water and taste [do this by filling a tasting spoon with the hot water then letting it cool for a minute or so.] If the water doesn’t taste like ocean water, add more salt. Add the angel hair and cook for 4 minutes.
Why? Whole grain angel hair is much more nutritious than traditional pasta. The well salted water will improve the flavor.
While the pasta is cooking, take about 1 cup of the water and toss it into the sauce. The starchy, salty water will slightly thicken over low heat.
When the pasta is done cooking, drain and toss it with the sauce. Add most of the parsley, pepper to taste and toss.
Serve, garnishing with more parsley and almonds.
Why? Almonds add a crunchy sweetness to the dish, parsley adds a fresh note. No fresh herbs? No problem, just zest one lemon and toss with the pasta. Lemon and parsley have similar fresh and light flavors.
Do you like the new recipe layout? I hate things that don’t include reasoning. Without an explanation, I just don’t like to follow directions. I’ve been the same way since I was 3 years old. 😉 Do you like to read the why or does it drag out the recipe too much?
Ever have trouble naming a recipe? Try this.
In freetranslation.com type in specific ingredients or flavors of a dish, and translate them to a few different languages until you find something that sounds appealing and represents the dish [both with language and description].
Hehehe. Did you know free translation has an auto-detect? I typed in a recipe I found in my grandmother’s cabinet (the grandmother with more than one ethnicity) and found out it was Polish! She got it from an old neighbor a long time ago. How cool is that?
My mal de tête [headache] wasn’t better this morning so I slept in and had a day to myself. It was glorious. Stress doesn’t agree with me- my stomach goes crazy and I get migraines. I have no idea why, but I decided to load up on classes second semester of my senior year and there are specific clases that no me gusta…if you catch my drift. The repetitive SCHOOL-WORK-WORKOUT-3HOURSofHOMEWORK-BLOG-SLEEP(?) leaves me so drained! I need to create a new game plan and improve my attitude toward school and work.
After all, I do love most of the people I go to school with, I love my job, and I love blogging+my amazing readers! Maybe all I need is to take a second to pray & be thankful. 🙂