"Garlic is also an optional ingredient - a few cloves minced up and added at the end is yummy, though definately not necessary."
Garlic Optional? Garlic Not Necessary? WHAT UNHOLY MADNESS IS THIS??
While I'm sure Saige's recipe is quite yummy, I have never for a moment thought of making it with without garlic -- the existence of which I feel is almost undenyable proof that there is a loving and benevolent God in the universe. Here's how you do it:
- First, finely mince your fresh garlic (never use the jarred stuff) using at least 1 clove per person, more if you and your dining companions are brave! Also, be sure to use the smaller garlic variety, as elephant garlic is not as flavorful.
- Now heat your olive oil in a pan over low to medium heat. This is the toughest part, because you must be very careful that you do not burn the oil: if the oil begins to smoke more than just a wee bit then you should toss it and start over again using less heat*.
- When you think the oil is ready, throw in a tiny chunk of garlic and watch it: if it sizzles then you're in good shape. Throw in the rest of the garlic, watch to see that it starts sizzling vigorously and then promptly remove from the heat.
- If the oil is hot enough (but not too hot) then the garlic will cook in about two minutes.
And that's it. The trickiest
part is getting the garlic to cook but not overcook
; try it a few times and you'll get the hang of it
. I should also mention that instead of Pecorino you can also use Reggiano Parmasean
, the undisputed lord
of all grating cheese
s. Also, a sprinkling of freshly chopped basil
and perhaps some toasted pine nut
s is highly recommended if you're in the mood for the flavor of fresh pesto without all the hard work. Bon Apettit
* Oh, you laugh but let me tell you, pal: not only is temperature control crucial for maintaining the subtle and delicate flavor of olive oil, but it is preserves the unique chemical structure of all of the beneficial polyunsaturated lipids found in the oil. In fact, overheating can lead to the formation of known carcinogens and other nasty compounds that you don't want to be eating. So: keep it cool, man.