This has NOTHING to do with critical skills – except that it may be a critical skill to serve something delicious and easy to make when you have guests.
So give this a try – it’s called “Marlaine’s Spaghetti” (although I use Fettuccine)
This recipe will serve four people generously. The important thing to remember with this recipe is to use excellent quality ingredients. Particularly important are the super fresh or sun-dried tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, fresh basil, ripe olives, Parmesan cheese and fresh garlic. Use the highest quality olive oil that you can find . . . not just the “run-of-the-mill” stuff.
Make the “sauce” at least 12 hours in advance. Keep it refrigerated until about 3 hours before you put it on the spaghetti. During that last three hours, let it come up to room temperature. DO NOT USE A FOOD PROCESSOR TO CHOP UP THE INGREDIENTS. DO IT THE “OLD-FASHIONED WAY” WITH A KNIFE AND A CHOPPING BLOCK.
Here’s how to do it.
Start at least 3 hours in advance of the meal with a medium sized bowl and put in 12 tablespoons of EXCELLENT olive oil. Do not use more olive oil than this, because you don’t want the meal to be “greasy.”
As you proceed, you will add the ingredients to the olive oil.
Fresh Basil – One Cup (Generous) Take the freshest basil you can find and cut the leaves so that you get very little stem. When you have enough to fill about one cup, cut up the basil with a sharp knife to little pieces. Put them in with the olive oil.
Ripe Olives – 16 of them (at least) Get the ripe olives with the pits at whole foods in the deli area. Ones that are particularly good are the Sicilian ripe olives in oil. Take the pits out and chop up the olives into small pieces. Put them in with the olive oil.
Fresh Garlic – 8 cloves Chop up the fresh garlic into small pieces and put them in with the olive oil.
Super Fresh or Sun-Dried Tomatoes – About 1½ cups The best I can find are the “Bella Sun Luci” Sun-Dried Tomato halves, which, I think, you can get at any good grocery store. These are moist and “ready to eat.” DO NOT USE the really “DRY” ones – this is important. Chop them up into small pieces and put them in with the olive oil. (I prefer the really fresh tomatoes.)
Fresh Ground Pepper Grind enough peppercorns to make about 2/3 teaspoon. Put it in with the olive oil.
After you have mixed the ingredients completely with the olive oil, you can refrigerate it until (as mentioned above) about three hours before the meal. Then you should let it come up to room temperature.
Spaghetti – I use Fettuccini – not vermicelli, thin spaghetti, etc. But regular spaghetti will work fine.) Parmesan Cheese Grate some FRESH Parmesan cheese and put it in a bowl so people can use what they want (if any). Adding the cheese is great . . . but DO NOT PUT IT INTO THE SAUCE.
Boil the spaghetti for about 8½ minutes and then put it into a colander to drain off the water. Don’t rinse it . . . just shake out the water.
Put the fettuccini/spaghetti into a large bowl and then pour about 2/3 of the “sauce” over it and mix it up as best you can.
Take the remaining “sauce” and put it on the side so people can add “goodies” as they want. Serve immediately . . . . and enjoy! (Some people are even known to ask for seconds . . . . . )