Spaghetti aglia e olio is a great building block to create endless varieties of pasta recipes. It’s very tasty and very fragrant, and quite neutral enough to go with a lot of other ingredients. So, you just start with the basic garlic-olive oil-parsley sauce then add anything you want — meat, seafood and vegetables — vary the additions and you have a new pasta aglia e olio hybrid each time.
This dish follows that principle. Very thinly sliced pork was seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice, stir fried in olive oil until lightly browned and, when the pork was almost done, finely chopped garlic and cubes of carrot and zucchini were added. By the time the meat was cooked through, the vegetables were done just right, still slightly crisp, and the garlic has done its wonders by infusing its flavors on the meat and veggies apart from perfuming the entire kitchen.
Spaghetti with salted pork, zucchini and carrot
- 70 to 80 grams spaghetti (or your preferred pasta shape), cooked in salted water until al dente
- 100 grams pork thinly sliced (thinner than 1/4 inch, if you can manage it)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- juice of a quarter of a lemon
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 zucchini cut into half-inch cubes
- 1 carrot cut into half-inch cubes
- a handful of chopped parsley
- Place the pork in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and the lemon juice. Mix well.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the pork and cook over medium-high heat just until the edges of the meat start to brown.
- Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic starts to brown ever so slightly. Don’t brown them too much because you still need to add the zucchini and carrot which will require a couple of minutes of cooking. If you brown the garlic too much at this point, it might be burnt and bitter by the time the veggies are done.
- Add the carrot and zucchini cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (read about layering flavors). Cook, tossing often, for half a minute.
- Add the pasta and parsley to the pan. Toss to coat each strand of noodle with oil. Take a noodle, taste, add more salt, pepper and lemon juice, if needed. If the noodles appear too dry, drizzle in more olive oil. Toss a few more times until the noodles are heated through.