Blood, sweat and olive oil. Chorizo & feta aglio olio recipe

In case you thought Italian food is always difficult to make, it is not. If you thought that pasta has to be heavy and cheesy, it does not. If you thought that you would rather stick to Chinese, then try this Italian dish for a transition towards the West.

Spaghetti aglio olio or spaghetti in olive oil is one of the simplest dishes to rustle up. Helps if you don’t chop your own finger as I did. OK, ‘chop’, is too a strong word but I did shed a lot of blood when I cut my finger while using a cleaver to finely chop chorizo. It took a while before I could find K’s make up removal pads which were the only cotton at home. In the process I learnt that turmeric can help stop the flow of blood. Not before the bedroom floor turned red. And then my friend Ranjit, @qtfan on twitter, patched me up though it was past 11. He offered to  come down but I drove to his place feeling like Bachchan in Agneepath or Don, driving with my bloodied palms, for 2 minutes (I love the drama). A tetanus jab followed, I had cut meat before with the same knife and us Bongs are hypochondriacs. Dressed and I was back. He dressed my finger the next day too, marinated with anti-biotic, I attacked the chorizo again. Feeling proud of my cooking scar. Now I can look Bourdain in the eye when I meet him. He had an entire chapter in ‘Kitchen Confidential’ on the violence in kitchens.

Day 1 after Ranjit patched it

Day 3, difficult to type without using a finger

The chorizo was a set of three fancy sausages that Soma, a junior at college and blog reader brought and sent to me all the way from the US, when she came to Calcutta recently. I couldn’t wait for K to come to open them. The meal took a day to cook with some bloodshed in between but it was all worth it. Some of us might find pastas, especially aglio olios, ‘bland’ for our Indian palates. That’s when strong meats such as chorizos and strong cheeses such as feta, which I used, help. I also used the Mediterranean spices of sumac and lemon powder, which Gia gave me, to flavour the dish. So, as you see, a number of my friends were a part of the making of this dish. 
Here’s the recipe for chorizo & feta aglio olio (my version, not authentic Italian Mama approved):

1.       Boil spaghetti and keep aside. Start with 100 g if it is for one person
2.       Heat 4,5 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. This is the base of the dish. You can even add some extra virgin over it once the dish is ready
3.       Add a tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
4.       Once the garlic turns yellowish, add a tablespoon of finely chopped tomato
5.       Stir. Once the tomatoes go soft, add about 3 tablespoons of chopped chorizo or any strong flavoured meat. Wash off any human blood which could Have smeared on if you were careless while chopping. This is not a fundamental step
6.       Once it cooks (1 minute) add the spaghetti, sprinkle salt and gently toss the spaghetti with a ladle  so that the sauce (meat and garlic seasoned oil) wraps around the spahghetti
7.       Add a few bits of feta or any strong cheese
8.       Season with sumac and lemon powder or ideally chilli flakes which is more authentic
9.       Photograph and eat.

Simple, right? Was incredibly well flavoured for a dish so delicate.


Pinku said…
sounds simple enough...looks good too...though the thought of you almost chopping off your finger in the process...isn't too appealing.
Unknown said…
you know i had started to write a comment. I was going to be the 1st one to comment.. but then the client called. I wish Thane was closer to Pali hill to come over for this lovely dinner. Yes its simple and all but the chorizo would have given it an edge that regular aglio olio wouldnt have. Its simple lovely delectable flavors that makes this such a delight.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Pinku, in fact the recipe works just as well without that ...but thanks, know what you mean :)

@Jyo, that's ok, given that you are both in agencies, being 'first' is a tough call...if you were next door you might have had to clean a pool of dried blood so be careful what you wish ;)
Miri said…
Lovely Lovely - not the chopped finger though!
I love olio too - but don't make it often cos of hubby's (desi)penchant for sauce in his pasta . But this sunday I used some home grown (not mine, a friend's) arugula and made pasta with prawns and arugula tossed in a very little bit of vodka and cream - simple but delicious.
Vikram said…
All these mouthwatering pics makes me hungry.
Shobita K said…
Aglio Olio is a favorite of mine. With crushed red pepper, no cheese or anything else maybe a little sun dried tomato occasionally. But I can't make it too often because the hubby is not a fan of either noodles or sauceless pasta.
That was some bloody late night adventure you had! Is this your first cooking mishap? Well then! Its about time. I am glad it wasn't too bad though. ;-)