Chili Garlic Noodles

I awoke this morning with the immediate thought that I would not let anything get in the way of an early bed time tonight. The sudden unwelcome arrival of a flaring toothache has kept me up more than I’d like to admit, and has rendered my even my sleep a restive and forlorn experience. Thus, you can imagine I was on a one-way trip to the Benadrylopolis…

And yet here I am. I just can’t stop the thoughts, so I shall let them run rampant on the back burner while I focus on this blog. The past month has not been a happy one for my coworkers, you see, and we unfortunately lost a beautiful, smiling, kind soul to the rabid beast of cancer. In all fairness, I barely knew her. Nevertheless, the loss was a complete shock, a blow to our collective psyche, and an obvious reminder that life is too short to play on the sidelines.Earlier we suffered another–albeit indirect–loss with the passing of another coworker’s husband. Where cancer already feels meaningless and unnecessary, his death was even more so, having bred from a severe case of pneumonia. Heartache. Prayers. Supremely humongous well wishes and the desire for a better tomorrow for each affected person and her family. For the recently lost and the long departed. Naturally these are sentiments that one could write about for days, months, decades. I won’t do that. A part of me could revel in dwelling in miserable, morbid melancholia, but when I saw the peaceful if resigned smile of a friend of Jen, it was a kick in the bud that life indeed always moves forward. It doesn’t just move on, it moves forward. And if you don’t do something with it, you’re a punk. That’s right. Punk punk punk.

In truth, I’m calling the person I was/have been/can be out, since I have suffered the outrageous syndrome of letting life pass me by without really believing in myself enough to do anything meaningful. That’s why I am grateful for something as miniscule as this blog, about my literEature exploits, about slowly getting my act together to write more. I’m grateful for having taken the risk that ended up with a superb (if a bit nutty—just the way I like it!) husband. Money is not the most sought commodity of all, I’ve learned; time is more valuable, more desirable to harness, and infinitely more fleeting. The most remarkable thing about it though is that you can make time for yourself. In the past few years I’ve begun to understand what that means, and I’m working on it. So should you. You can start by making this delightfully simple but sensational pasta dish. (What? The most random segue you say? I cannot hear you! I am too busy drooling over garlic noodles!). I dedicate this post to Jennifer: she brought the simplest and truly one of the most powerful gifts of all, a smile, to everyone. A simple recipe could never compare.

Ingredients

I gleaned this recipe from one of the most delightful blogs I’ve come across recently, Sunshine and Smile, with a few minor adjustments. You can view the original recipe (and gorgeous photos) here.

  • Pasta of choice, cooked (I use wheat spaghetti noodles)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • 4 small green chilis
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan and mozzarella mixed
  • 2-3 tbsp pasta water

In a large pot, cook/boil pasta as directed by packaging. Drain and set aside (reserving a little of the pasta water). While the pasta cooks, heat up the olive oil in a frying pan (medium heat) and add the garlic cloves. After 2 minutes, add the green chilis and continue to sauté until the garlic softens and browns. I love roasted garlic, sautéed garlic, nice mushy soft and fragrant garlic, so I let it cook for about 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the oil cool down a bit. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, chili flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Also add the pasta water now and mix thoroughly.

In a large serving bowl pour in the noodles and sprinkle the cheese all around. Top it all with the sauce mixture, adding more olive oil if needed.

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