It’s been a while since I’ve done a recipe on the blog! I can’t wait to share some of the dishes I’ve been cooking. Here is my variation of Chef Roy Choi’s pasta aglio e olio that featured in the movie Chef. That scene where Jon Favreau cooks up a plate of pasta in olive oil and garlic for Scarlett Johansson? So simple, yet so good.
Therefore, I was thrilled when I found the exact recipe for the dish on Shockingly Delicious. I’ve made it a couple of times now, but this time I decided to add a little variation with some pancetta and asparagus thrown in. The pancetta, in particular, with its crisp salty taste really takes it to another level. As the pancetta is quite oily in itself and there’s a bit of oil in the pasta already, I hold back the pancetta while I toss the rest of the ingredients together before finally topping the dish with the slices at the end.
We usually make this with spaghetti, but I decided to go for fettuccine this time. There’s something so heartwarming and yum about thick noodles! And of course I used the Barilla brand. I was chatting once to an Italian friend about Italian food and I asked her what brand of pasta she used here in Australia. I thought she might make her own pasta or go to the Italian delis and buy fresh pasta, but to my surprise, she told me she too used dried pasta, the kind sold in the supermarkets. But, “I only use one kind,” she declared in her adorable Italian accent. “Barilla. That’s the only kind!”
So now I only use Barilla pasta, which does taste really good and, I feel, is less starchy than the other pasta brands. Plus, it makes me feel that one step closer to being an authentic Italian. *grins*
Pasta Aglio e Olio with Pancetta and Asparagus:
- Long pasta of your choice – I have previously used both fettuccine and spaghetti for this.
- One bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed, sliced into quarts
- 100 grams pancetta
- Four or five large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Truffle oil
- Crushed red pepper flakes (I’ve also changed it up a little before by using fresh chopped red chilli)
- 1/2 a lemon
- Grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 150 Celsius degrees. Line a tray with baking paper and lay out the pancetta slices, being careful not to overlap pieces.
While oven is heating, warm up some olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is golden-brown and fragrant, stirring frequently. Add asparagus and season with red pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until tender. Set aside and reserve.
Heat a pot of salted water on the oven and add pasta of your choice. Cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, pop the tray of pancetta in the oven and let cook for 1-2 minutes until the pancetta is golden and crispy.
Drain the pasta and divide into plates. Top with asparagus and parmesan. Add a generous squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of truffle oil, and mix well. Finally, add slices of pancetta on the top and serve. Enjoy!