When I was younger, I got sick with strep throat a lot. I would get a super high fever and hallucinate and say weird things and was basically on my death bed for a few days. One of my favorite memories from when I was young was my Mom taking care of me when I was sick. I'm pretty sure it was her LEAST favorite memory, since I am not one of those quiet, gracious sick people. I whined a lot and would lay on the couch for days, expecting to be waited on hand and foot. I would watch The Parent Trap (the original one, not that Lindsay Lohan crap) and episodes of Ramona on VHS and wait for my Mom to bring me Sprite and instant mashed potatoes and give me lots of sympathy. She is the best Mom.
But when I started feeling a little bit better, I'd want something yummier than instant mashed potatoes so it was time for pasta with butter and garlic. It was my absolute favorite thing to eat during my childhood and teenage years, sick or not. I loved that stuff more than life itself. Once I moved out on my own, I always tried to make it myself, but it just didn't taste the same as when my Mom made it. That is, until I discovered good olive oil, anchovy paste, real garlic, and red pepper flakes. Now when I make my own its just as good....not the SAME, of course, but still good. Its still one of my favorite things to eat, but since I have no self control or sense of reasonable portions when it comes to pasta, we don't eat pasta very much in this household. But every once in awhile, I'll break this out when I need a treat or a comfort food pick-me-up. Works like a charm. Too bad we don't have any Ramona video tapes to watch...
This is a classic pasta recipe that can go well with so many proteins. I paired it with grilled shrimp and chicken sausage, but it would be great on its own, or with chicken. Or anything! Sometimes I toss it with a handful or two of arugula, which is tasty as well. Enjoy!
Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil (and Sausage and Shrimp!)
Source: inspired by Rachael Ray
12-15 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 links Italian flavored chicken sausage, sliced (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (or less if you don't like it too spicy)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Saute the shrimp and sausage in a pan over medium heat until done, and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring water in a large pot to a boil, salt, and then add pasta. Cook until al dente, drain and set aside.
In a separate pan, heat the olive oil gently. Add the anchovy paste and stir, allowing it to melt into the oil. Then add the garlic and red pepper flakes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for just a couple of minutes and turn off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the pan, and toss to combine.
Top with cooked shrimp and sausage, garnish with fresh basil if desired, and serve immediately.