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~ Slightly-Spicy Garlic & Italian-Herbs Buttered Pasta ~

IMG_3262The perfect foil means, the perfect background.  Paint anything edible into this photo and it will be great meal.  Tick, tock.  In the case of this 15-minute to make side-dish, truer words were never spoken. When you have no time to make a run to the grocery store but still have a hungry family to please, this is the perfect side to serve -- everyone loves pasta.  It goes great with a broiled chicken breast, a grilled pork chop, a pan-seared steak, a handful of steamed shrimp, etc.  Add a steamed green vegetable or garden salad and dinner is on the table, and, your day is done. 

True story.  When I was a kid, my kid brother would only eat pasta with butter.  While the rest of us were slurping our marinara sauced and Parmesan cheese topped mounds, he'd sit and watch those yellow pats melt over his bowl of steaming hot spaghetti, tossing and twirling it until it was enrobed and glistening.  Sometimes he'd add cheese, other times, not.  I swear, he could eat his weight in it.  And you know what?  It got the best of us.  It became so mouth-watering to watch him do it, mom started tossing ALL of our spaghetti with salted butter, a few dried spices and a pinch of red pepper flakes, BEFORE she added the sauce -- pasta simply loves to suck up all those flavors.  To this day, everyone asks me why my pasta tastes better than anyone elses.

My brother's favorite pasta the way mom made it for him:  

IMG_32231  pound thick spaghetti

1  tablespoon sea salt, for seasoning water for pasta

8 tablespoons salted butter (1 stick, cut into 8-12 pieces)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, slightly more or less, for heat

IMG_3226 IMG_3226 IMG_3226 IMG_3226 IMG_3240 IMG_3240 IMG_3240~Step 1.  In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven or a wide-bottomed 4-quart stockpot, bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon salt, followed by the spaghetti.  Adjust heat to a steady simmer and continue to cook until pasta is al dente, about 10-11 minutes.  Turn heat off and remove pot from heat.

IMG_3248 IMG_3248 IMG_3248 IMG_3248 IMG_3248~Step 2.  Drain pasta into a colander and immediately return the steaming hot pasta to the still hot pot and place the pot back on the still warm stovetop.  Add the butter pieces, garlic powder, Italian seasoning blend and red pepper flakes.  Using a large spoon stir until butter has melted and pasta is enrobed in a flavorful garlic-butter and herb sauce.  

Plate & serve immediately with or without cheese:   

IMG_3257Slightly-Spicy Garlic & Italian-Herbs Buttered Pasta:  Recipe yields 4-6 servings.

Special Equipment List: 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven or 4-quart wide-bottomed stockpot; colander; cutting board; paring knife; large spoon; microplane grater (optional)

6a0120a8551282970b0264e2dbc0e3200dCook's Note: Choose from any number of proteins we make for dinner.  Examples:  roasted chickengrill-panned steaks or pork chops, slow-cooker spareribs, pan-seared ham slices, broiled fish fillets, steamed or poached shellfish, etc.  I refer to these as flash-in-the pan meals because they go from oven or cooktop in relatively short order.  All you need is a side-dish -- a seriously scrumptious all-purpose side-dish. Try my ~ Egg Noodles & Broccoli in Spicy Garlic-Butter Sauce ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


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