Monday, July 11, 2011

they gave me garlic

My friends J and N, as they're sometimes called, gave me this garlic which they grew in a small patch of their yard.  It's elephant garlic.  I'm thinking I'll make a stew.  

Elephant Stew

1 elephant, medium size
850 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 rabbits, optional
salt and pepper to taste
brown gravy  (lots) (really, lots)

Cut the elephant into bite-size pieces.  This should take you about two months.  Reserve the trunk; you will need something to put the pieces in. 

Place the elephant pieces and the garlic cloves into a roasting pan and add all of the gravy.  Cook covered, at 475 degrees for about four weeks.

If expecting a crowd, the four rabbits may be added. 
Do this only if necessary as most people do not like to find hare in their stew.

Credit should be given to the cook but it's one of those recipes passed around for decades.  I remember brailling it for young students when they reached that knock-knock age and could get the humor.  (My late mother-in-law, when in her eighties, found it quite amusing too.) 

Joking aside, what a gift. 

Perhaps it's because I'm a city girl or perhaps it's because I'm a romantic --- but when friends give you garlic from their earth, you should do something special with it.  That's what I think. 

Special, never to be confused with fancy, means the first cloves are going into Spaghetti Aio e Oio.  Please don't ask me to pronounce it. 

Aio e Oio is a Roman sauce made of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and parsley.  Those are classic ingredients but if I go wild and decide to use a little chopped rosemary instead ----- well, Spoke's sure to break into a song.  (His Dean Martin imitation is spot on.)

"Return to me
 Oh, my dear, I'm so lonely
 Hurry back, hurry back, 
 Oh my love, hurry back
 I'm yours"

Fresh garlic is an absolute treat.  The cloves are moist, almost translucent when sliced super thin which I plan to do, their sweetness allowing me to add as many as I want. 

Loaded is the word that comes to mind. 

Aio e Oio combines those few ingredients into one great dish.  It's special, just like J and N are to me.

Aio e Oio

8 ounces spaghetti or spaghettini
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
garlic cloves, sliced very thin
salt and red pepper flakes to taste
chopped parsley or chopped rosemary if you dare

In a saucepan large enough to later toss the pasta, warm 5 tablespoons of good olive oil.  Just before the pasta is al dente, transfer it to the saucepan.  Add the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and herb of choice.  Toss the spaghetti to coat, adding a little pasta water if necessary.  

Drizzle with a bit of olive oil if you want. 

serves two

{Return to Me; music by Carmen Lombardo, lyrics by Danny DiMinno}


  1. Very cute :) It was nice to meet you on Wednesday! I'm a new follower! ~ Noel (Gold Canyon

  2. PS - I'm a sesquipedelian, so I'm on the look out for you!