So, where am I going with this?! I posted the requisite Valentine's Day recipe earlier in the week, which would be these Red Wine Chocolate Truffles, thus doing my duty for the month of February for anyone celebrating Valentine's Day. But I'm not one to leave people out! What if you're not with someone this year? What if you were with someone and you're currently heartbroken? What if you were with someone and you're currently celebrating your new found singledom? What if you haven't been in a relationship in a while and are a feeling a little bitter about all the cupids and hearts you're seeing this month?! What if you're single and are 100% fine with that, but also happen to appreciate good food?
You may not have a significant other this year, but on February 14th, you can indulge freely in any or all of the delicious items in my above-mentioned list, including today's Garlicky Green Spaghetti, which:
-Has long pasta, for guaranteed unattractive eating;
-Has an abundance of leafy spinach, to up the chances of giving you a big green-teethed grin;
-Has onions, lots of onions;
-Has garlic, lots and lots of garlic;
-Is finished off with a good dose of cheese, which doesn't give anyone good breath;
-Has a pancetta, because pancetta makes everything 100 times better, all day every day.
In short, whatever category you fall in to, this is just the sort of pasta that would be a nightmare to eat in a romantic setting, and a breeze to eat anywhere else. Above were the bullet points, here are the details: here we have spaghetti served in a silky, olive oil-y sauce that shines in all its unapologetically garlicky splendor, exalting and transforming what were previously mild and rather unremarkable spinach leaves into something truly tasty and crave-worthy. Garlic and greens aside, the spaghetti is dressed up with rich, savory pancetta, a hit of bright lemon zest, slow cooked onions, and a generous amount of salty Pecorino Romano cheese, all of which come together to make pasta that will quite possibly make you grateful you're single this year. Make a big batch of this spaghetti and dole it out to your fellow single friends for dinner on Valentine's Day, reveling in its (delicious) and romance repellent qualities!
A couple of notes: Okay, so this may seem like a lot of garlic, because it definitely is, but that's the point! The garlic here actually isn't overwhelming, just pleasantly spicy and fragrant and goes awesome with the olive oil and greens (olive oil, garlic, and greens are a match made in flavor heaven). Note that for my first "draft" of this pasta, I left the garlic cloves in larger pieces (I thought it would flavor the olive oil enough and then I could remove them later, as I usually do with garlic) but I found that the garlicky flavor wasn't strong enough, and on my second round left the cloves in thin pieces, as you'll see in the below recipe. Therefore, the garlic you see in the below photos should actually be cut much finer. This is a fairly flexible recipe: you can use Parmesan instead of the Pecorino, if you wish, leave out the pancetta for vegetarians, use any kind of winter green you like (kale, for example) or use any kind of pasta you want (longer pasta is the most fun here though).
Want some other recipes that could present problems in a romantic setting? Check out a few other green dishes, like: Cicoria alla romana, this Chickpea, Kale, and Sausage Soup, or this Pasta with Basil Pesto. You might also like a messy and/or difficult to eat dish, like: Avocado Cheddar Burgers, this Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, this Pappardelle with Porcini and Pumpkin, or this Bucatini all'amatriciana. Want some dessert? I recommend these Lemon Squares, if you're feeling a little sour this February 14th, or this Tiramisù, whose cocoa powder is bound to end up all over your teeth and face. Hurray!
SPAGHETTI WITH GARLICKY GREENS
4 ounces (112 grams) pancetta (optional)
1/3 cup (about 6 tablespoons) olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Red pepper flakes, to taste
16 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
16 cups (500 grams, or 1 pound) of spinach leaves, torn, tough stems removed
Zest of 1 small lemon
12 ounces (340 grams) spaghetti
1 cup (150 grams) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the spaghetti.
If you're using the pancetta: cook the pancetta in a tiny bit of olive oil (just so it doesn't stick at first) in a small skillet over medium heat. When the pancetta is brown and crisp, drain it on a paper towel. Set aside.