The Hippo


Jul 22, 2019








Garbage pasta

Recipe courtesy Faith Willinger via Serious Eats
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon walnuts
1 tablespoon hazelnuts
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, rinsed, drained
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes, about ten
1 tablespoon. minced flat-leaf parsley
5 to 6 pitted black olives, roughly chopped
Sea salt to taste
8 ounces spaghetti
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook al dente, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water before draining. 
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the nuts until gently browned. Add the tomatoes, capers and oregano, and cook until the tomatoes wilt and break down, stirring occasionally. Add the olives, raisins and half the parsley, seasoning with a pinch of salt, and cook for an additional minute or two. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss. Add a little pasta water and toss over low heat, remove from heat before the pasta gets too dry. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and the remaining parsley (optional). 

Garbage pasta
From the Pantry

By Lauren Mifsud

There is a small Italian restaurant up the street from my parents’ house with a little-known secret. If you happen to walk through the doors around closing time for a meal, you can order garbage pasta. 

It was once reserved for the wait staff at the end of the night, but so many people began requesting it that it eventually found its way onto the late-night menu. 
The dish, usually filled with anything and everything left over from the day’s menu, is a cornucopia of ingredients, flavors and textures. Different types of pasta serve as the vehicle for veggies, spices and sometimes different sauces to form a cohesive, delicious meal.
In my own kitchen, I’m not cooking enough dishes for enough people on any given night to create a true garbage pasta, so instead, I’ll turn to my pantry and throw in anything and everything that I can find.  
This week, there wasn’t much to choose from in the way of fresh ingredients, so just about everything came from the pantry or freezer. Frozen spinach, angel hair pasta, three-cheese sauce, parsley, garlic and a single zucchini were all I had to work with. But once fried together and tossed with a bit of Parmesan cheese, the meal wasn’t half bad. 
Instead of giving you my sad excuse for garbage pasta, I looked up different recipes until I found one that came highly recommended — by Mario Batali himself — and, after a few alterations, one I’m now in love with. 
The original recipe appeared on the website of food writer Faith Willinger, but I found it featured on Serious Eats by Blake Royer. The recipe calls for different types and textures of nuts, raisins and even capers. While I was certainly choosy about what I did and didn’t add to my own dish, the recipe has a lot of potential if you like bold flavors and hearty pasta. 
I’m not a huge fan of walnuts, so I added an extra half tablespoon each of pine nuts and hazelnuts. 
I wanted more of a sauce to coat the pasta, so I sautéed the olive oil and cherry tomatoes with a bit of garlic and tomato paste into more of a sauce than chunks of cherry tomatoes.   
The raisins were an unexpected and interesting surprise and one I never would have thought to put into pasta. They add some sweetness to the dish and should be used sparingly if you’re more of a savory pasta person. Capers and black olives don’t even register on my list of foods I like, so I only added them to a portion for my husband, who said the saltiness was a welcome complement to the sweetness of the raisins and overall nutty profile of the dish. 
Overall, this recipe was interesting. There is a little bit of everything in this dish, and it can be altered to suit your tastes — salt or sweet — with ease. — Lauren Mifsud
As seen in the September 25, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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