This garlic butter pasta comes together easily but feels like sitting down to a meal at an outdoor Italian cafe. (A girl can dream.)
Just the Food:
Simple yet mighty, this garlic butter pasta makes resourceful cooking feel elevated (vases of foraged flowers help too). The true joy of eating pasta is over-eating pasta, which is why I add crispy, salty, roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts over chickpea noodles to reduce the effects of the inevitable food coma.
This casarecce pasta from Barilla (not sponsored) is pretty with its twists and curled edges. More importantly, the only ingredient is chickpea flour, so it’s high in protein and gluten-free without any odd fillers or starches, to which I raise a glass and say, Buon Appetito!
Just The Personal:
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me to stretch my pantry, to shop smarter, to save gas, and to avoid excessive trips to the grocery store. It has affirmed my scrappiness, sharpened my resourcefulness and quieted my cravings and whims. The dishes that have emerged are creative because restriction is itself a muse. They are nourishing and worth sharing, but they lack a certain something. They lack a bit of the sacred.
The sacred is the sharing, is the conversation that floats over cheeseboards. The sacred is the escalation of volume with each splash of wine into a deep glass. To crave a food is to feel something, is to appreciate the divinity of culinary creations, the many hands that brought it to life.
To melt together over the intensity of flavor is sacred. I care so deeply about sharing food, it’s a prerequisite for my romantic partnerships. I need a match who can cut into everything with me, swap cocktails with me, and take the last sip of wine when sleepiness hits me.
Lately, I may not be craving foods, but I am craving a country. I am craving Italy.
In my Quarantine Tips, I shared how making a list of 108 Dreams helped me to feel more purpose and hope in the face of uncertainty (I’m currently up to 86 dreams). I have dreams about the iconic vistas of the Amalfi Coast. I have dreams about walking through an olive grove. I have dreams of eating olive oil with a spoon to taste the proximity to its source. I have dreams of eating my way through Italy.
I recently listened to Eat Pray Love, and Liz Gilbert’s descriptions of ricotta and pillowy pastas left me salivating and yearning for old villas, winding narrow streets, crowded espresso counters and the exuberance of the romance language.
I’ve never been to Italy, but someday. Someday, when we can hold hands and hug, and pass plates to each other, I will indulge my craving. In the meantime, I’ll make simple pastas with big flavors and try to appreciate the lessons of Italian cooking. I’ll continue to be grateful for the lessons of this time, for resourcefulness, and for the difference a little lemon zest can make.
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If the Italian influences of this pasta sound good, you might also like this Eggplant Rollatini with Sorghum Pesto Pearls from my book, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook.
She was very bored by this garlic butter pasta photography session, as if to say, “wake me when the Parmesan hits the floor.”
Garlic Butter Pasta with Roasted Broccoli & Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
- 2 Tablespoons high-heat oil such as avocado oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- 8.8 ounces chickpea casarecce pasta
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon zested
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the broccoli florets and Brussels sprout halves with oil, salt, and the black pepper. Arrange the vegetables evenly on a sheet pan, and bake until the vegetables are golden brown, about 18-22 minutes, tossing occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta.
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package instructions, then drain well.
- In a skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes, and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic softens.
- Remove the butter mixture from heat. Stir in the pasta, Parmesan and lemon zest. Add the roasted vegetables, and stir everything until well combined.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with extra red pepper flakes and/or extra Parmesan, if desired.