Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Capellini gratin

My all time favorite comfort food is Mac & cheese.
And not that plastic garbage that comes out of a box.

I want at least  four different types of cheese:
something aged,
something new,
something gooey,
something bleu.

And baked with crackers crumbled on top.

My second all time favorite is fried spaghetti.
I know, I'm weird.
I'll throw some leftover spaghetti in a pan with some olive oil and saute it up until it's brown and crispy.
Top it off with some freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano and cracked black pepper and I'm in heaven.

I don't make these nearly as much as I'd like to because my crew does not share my passion for fat and carbs.
My tastebuds feel neglected, but my waistline secretly thanks me.

Then I came across this recipe from Frank Stitt's cookbook Bottega Favorita: Capellini Gratin.
It was like he knew.
This so simple.
In fact, you can eat it with your hands if you like.

 Capellini Gratin
*adapted from Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita

olive oil
1 lb capellini (angel hair)
1 cup half & half
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
a little hot sauce (I love Temporary Insanity)
salt & pepper to taste

Spread some olive oil on your cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cook the spaghetti until al dente.
{Side note:
always salt your water BEFORE putting the spaghetti in.
And use A LOT. }
And save some of the water after you drain the pasta. This is always a good idea. You never know when you're going to need to stretch a sauce.
In a large bowl mix together the half & half, cheese and hot sauce. Add the pasta and season with salt & pepper. If it looks like it's not cheesy enough, add a little of the reserved pasta water.
Form in into a block a cookie sheet. (mine took up about 1/4 of the space)
Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown on top.

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