Asparagus and Shrimp Aglio E Olio [Recipe]

The Aglio E Olio, a humble dish which originated from Neopolitan cuisine, has captured the stomachs of many across the world because of it’s simplicity. With just 3 simple basic ingredients, this savoury dish is sure to fill you up even if you are lacking ingredients in the fridge or just looking for a quick late night meal 😉

A basic Aglio E Olio mainly uses garlic, olive oil and peperoncino. According to records, Peperoncino is a type of spicy chilli introduced to the Europeans by Christopher Columbus. There is currently 85 varieties of this spice and they vary depending on their sweetness level. When cooked, the Peperoncino releases capsaicin, a chemical responsible for the heat in Aglio E Olio. This is important because the heat will balance with the garlic, with neither one overpowering the other when correct quantities are used.

According to scientific research, there are multiple health benefits of using these fresh ingredients too:

Garlic: Anti-oxidant (slows down the aging process), reduces blood pressure and is an anti-inflammatory agent.
Olive Oil: Unsaturated fats which are effective in reducing cholesterol levels and may even alleviate constipation troubles
Peperoncino: Aids in digestion and vasodilation

In addition to these 3 ingredients, spinach, guanciale and even white button mushrooms would further complement this dish.

For this recipe, asparagus and shrimp has been added to provide the extra crunch and sweetness in the pasta 😀 The ingredients have also been sliced into small chunks so that guests can eat it easily with the noodles. Serve this dish for a cozy weekend brunch or dinner with your loved ones!

Yields 2 Servings

Asparagus and Shrimp Aglio E Olio

20 min

10 min

30 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • Prawns - 8 pieces
  • Asparagus - 4 stalks
  • Peperoncino / small red chilli - 1 stalk
  • Shallots - 2 cloves
  • Garlic - 2 cloves
  • Olive oil - 50g
  • Pasta - 160g Click here for easy fresh pasta recipe
  • Salt and black pepper for seasoning

Instructions

  1. Dice the shallots thinly. Dice the peperoncino / small red chilli. Chop the garlic coarsely. Combine all with the olive oil and set to one side.
  2. Prepare the asparagus. To remove the woody ends, bend the ends of the asparagus spears until it snaps. Rinse and cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Prepare the prawns. Deshell and de-vein the prawns. Rinse and cut into bite sized pieces.
  4. Boil a large pot of water. Season generously with salt as this will help to season the pasta.
  5. Heat a large frying pan and pour in the olive oil mixture. Stir continuously until the fragrance of the garlic and shallots is out. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  6. Toss in the prawns and pan fry over low fire.
  7. Blanch the pasta and asparagus in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes. Drain well.
  8. Add the pasta, asparagus and 2/3 cup pasta water into the pan.
  9. Season with salt and black pepper.
  10. Stir continuously until pasta and sauce becomes one.
  11. Pasta is ready to be served.

Notes

1) A convenient hack would be to refrigerate the olive oil mixture in a glass bottle. In this way, you can make aglio olio anytime and the infused oil would be more fragrant. 2) Cutting the prawns and asparagus into bite-sized pieces makes it easier to eat with the pasta in one mouthful. 3) As a rule of thumb, seafood dishes do not go well with cheese. Hence, it would be sacrilegious to pair this dish with cheese! 4) Share your masterpiece by tagging @theitalianflair on Instagram!

Tags

Cuisines
Italian
Courses
Main Course
Diet
pescetarian
Allergy
dairy free
soy free
peanut free
treenut free
sesame free
mustard free
7.8.1.2
4
https://theitalian-flair.com/2018/06/23/recipe-asparagus-shrimp-aglio-e-olio/

Share with us your masterpiece by tagging @theitalianflair on instagram, can’t wait to see them!

XX

ROAST cafe @ EmQuartier, Bangkok, Thailand [Food Finds]

Thailand, a country filled with it’s very own food culture is creating some fantastic Thai-Italian dishes these days. During my short trip in the hot bustling city of Bangkok, I stumbled upon ROAST cafe in EmQuartier shopping mall. 

What started out as a hideout from the intense afternoon heat brought so much pleasure from the quality food which ROAST offers instead. This casual eatery focuses on producing good food using fresh ingredients and if possible, would make the ingredients from scratch in their own kitchen. Hence, it was a pleasant surprise to know that they make their own pasta noodles 😀 

I ordered the bacon and garlic spaghetti which was basically a bacon aglio olio with a Thai twist. Apart from sauteeing the diced garlic with olive oil, the dish is generously garnished with fried garlic slices as well. This definitely added some garlicky punch to the dish which suits the Asian palate but I felt that it was abit too much for my liking.

aglio olio1
Bacon & Garlic Spaghetti | 240 Baht

However, what really made this dish stand out is the use of Thai whole dried chili instead of fresh chili pepper (often used in Singapore). This resulted in a consistent subtle heat in the dish as compared to the sharp spiciness which can happen if the quantity of fresh chili is not controlled well. 

Coincidentally, in Southern Italy, peperoncino aka dried red peppers are used in their dishes and soups to add flavor and spiciness. Unlike in Asia, the Italians would hang the fresh red peppers up to dry first before adding them in dishes. This drying process is important because fresh red chili is made up of 85% water and resin (chili oil which tastes spicy) will attach itself on the water molecules. By drying it, the chili oil will not disperse as much when sliced and you can control the heat of the dish better. 

Talk about the dedication of the team to ensure that you can enjoy a good plate of pasta using the freshest and close to authentic ingredients when developing their recipes. Be sure to try their homemade Vongole squid ink (using squid ink fettuccine) and Truffle Alfredo (homemade tagliatelle noodles) as well!

In line with this mission to serve quality dishes, they have also revamped the way iced coffee latte was served. To prevent the dilution of the coffee, the team has reverse engineered the process to serve espresso ice cubes with a bottle of cold milk. 

coffee latte
Iced Espresso Latte | 120 Baht

Not only can you enjoy a full robust iced latte, you are also able to control how intense you want your latte to be! 😉

It was definitely a pleasurable experience for the tummy at ROAST and kudos to the team for serving such brilliant fresh dishes. It’s no wonder the place was super packed so if you are going in big groups, be sure to head down early and beat the crowd!

ROAST Cafe (EmQuartier branch, Bangkok, Thailand)
Address: 1st floor, The Helix Quartier, EmQuartier
                 BTS Phrom Phong Station
Tel No.: +66 (0) 9417 63870
Website: www.roastbkk.com
Opening Hours: Mon to Sun – 10AM to 10PM

Image

Tomato & 3 Cheese Lasagna [Recipe]

Hey lovelies!! I have just returned from the sunny and hawt Bangkok city and boy am I feeling so recharged 😉 During my short trip, I was elated to have stumbled upon places serving delicious Thai-Italian fusion dishes and I can’t wait to share them with you guys. 

But today, I will be sharing with you this super simple lasagna recipe and it is great for meal prep. While I do like to dine out sometimes, I try to make an effort to have homecooked meals because I believe in using fresh ingredients and it is healthier!

In Italian food culture though, as shared in the Encyclopedia of Pasta, lasagna is one of the earliest pastas and the significance of this dish varies across the regions and centuries. For example in Sicily, it is a tradition to have lasagna on Christmas day with a rich ragu and the special local ricotta cheese.

For New Year’s, the Sicilians will have the lasagni cacati, which basically is lasagna with sausage sauce and large amounts of ricotta cheese. In addition, the lasagna sheet used is broad with a wavy edge and can only be obtained from fresh pasta shops. When cooking, they were careful not to tear the pasta sheet during the boiling process as they believed it would bring bad luck!

Through the centuries, lasagna sheets have taken different forms and compositions.  Some regions have the sheets in squares while others cut it to broad rectangular sheets. Some have also abandoned the use of eggs while others will combine water and eggs together for economic purposes.

Despite these differences, the lasagna bolognese is now one of the most common dish available in restaurants now. This convenience however, has caused the dish to lose it’s authenticity just a teeny weeny bit as most restaurants are using store-bought dried lasagna sheets which are a tad too thick. To enjoy a good lasagna bolognese, the pasta sheet should be rich in eggs and rolled out paper thin. In addition, a traditional bolognese ragu should be used, the bechamel sauce is spread sparingly and the time in the oven is very short, just enough to bind the flavors together. Overall, the lasagna should be soft.

That being said, this recipe just requires my homemade tomato sauce and 3 cheeses (Cheddar, Parmesan, Mozzarella). It lasts well in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, which means that you will not have to crack your brain for lunch/dinner ideas.

Tomato & 3 Cheese Lasagna

Bake this nutritious dish to have a filling meal no matter how busy you are during the weekdays!

2 hr, 30 Total Time

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Ingredients

  • Lasagna Sheet: Check out the fresh egg pasta recipe to make your own fresh lasagna sheet. Note: Cut the sheet to fit your baking dish. Alternatively, you can purchase the dried lasagna sheets from the supermarket.
  • 1 Pot Tomato Pasta Sauce: Click here for the authentic homemade tomato pasta sauce recipe .Alternatively, you can purchase 2 bottles of tomato sauce from the supermarket.
  • 1 Packet Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 Packet Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Packet Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 tbsp Italian Herb Mix.

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 200 deg celsius and turn on the convection option.
  2. If you are using fresh lasagna sheets, refer to steps 2 to 7. If not, skip straight to step 9.
  3. Cut the pasta into squares/rectangles based on the length of the baking dish. Lightly mist the pasta sheets with water/semolina flour as you work to prevent them from drying out.
  4. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  5. Drop in the pasta sheets and cover the pot to quickly return the water to a boil.
  6. Blanch the pasta sheets for 15 – 20 seconds, stirring gently to prevent sticking.
  7. Using a sieve, immediately transfer the pasta squares to the ice water to stop cooking.
  8. Lay the pasta sheets on clean paper towels and pat them dry.
  9. To build the lasagna, spread a thin layer of sauce on the base.
  10. Lay the pasta sheet in the baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce on the pasta sheet, spread the 3 cheeses on the sauce and sprinkle some Italian herbs.
  11. Continue building the lasagna as stated in step 3 until it reaches the top of the baking dish.
  12. End off with the pasta sauce, 3 cheeses and Italian herb mix.
  13. Bake the lasagna until it is very lightly browned and the cheese just melts. About 6 – 8 minutes.*
  14. Take it out from the oven and cool it on a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving to let the lasagna set.

Notes

*You only want to bake it briefly for the flavors to come together. Baking for too long will cause the cheese to overcook and leak water, making the lasagna soggy.

Tags

Cuisines
Italian
Courses
Main Course
Cooking
Baking
Allergy
peanut free
seafood free
treenut free
sesame free
mustard free
7.8.1.2
3
https://theitalian-flair.com/2018/06/03/recipe-tomato-3-cheese-lasagna/

If you have extras left, slice the lasagna into 1 serving size pieces and freeze them. To serve, just heat it up immediately in the oven. 

For a wholesome meal, blanch brocolli florets in salted hot water and toss it with butter as a side dish.

Let me know how your lasagna turned out! Tag me @theitalianflair on Instagram, I’m excited to see them! <3

XX