Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Spaghetti all'Aglio e Olio with Marinated Summer Vegetables

Shopping List

6 plum tomatoes - $2.59
1 zucchini - $0.47
1 yellow squash - $1.04
1 bunch parsley - $0.69
1/2 pound dry spaghetti - $0.65

Pantry items:
Extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, garlic, white sugar

Total cost: $5.44

In cookbooks, as in Harlequin romances, there are one-night stands and there are keepers.

Some recipes call to you from the page, talking sweet and promising spice. But in the cold light of day, your kitchen a shambles, you begin to wonder if you really have time for this kind of relationship. (You don't.)

Other recipes aren't so obviously seductive, but are compatible with the way you already cook. Quick to get under your skin, they stay with you and grow with you. Your friends approve.

I'm starting to nauseate myself with my own metaphor, so I'll just get to the point: The pomodori al forno served at Seattle's Café Lago, recipe transcribed and exalted by Molly Wizenberg, is a keeper. I've made the slow-roasted tomato dish so many times in the last six months that it feels like, as the saying goes, I've known it all my life.

At first, I served the tender, sweet tomatoes just as the restaurant does, on baguette rounds smeared with aged goat's cheese. Then I started pouring the leftover olive oil, swirling with garlic and parsley, over spaghetti or angel's hair. The impromptu aglio e olio was so good that I took to skipping the bread and cheese altogether, tossing the tomatoes and their ruddy oil straight into hot pasta. The barely solid flesh collapses easily into the noodles, bringing welcome moisture and acidity to the classic Italian preparation.

To make the dish a little more colorful and quite a bit more substantial, I've added slices of grilled green and yellow squash, now at their sweetest and cheapest. The recipe will feed two, with enough vegetables left over for a really glorious sandwich.

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Spaghetti all'Aglio e Olio with Marinated Summer Vegetables

About the author: Michele Humes is a garlic fiend--and the writer of Georgia On My Thighs.

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