Monday, September 30, 2013

Mommy's Garlic Noodles

One last Noshtalgia post for Mofo 2013!
I have had such a wonderful time writing these posts, remembering (and eating!) all these memories, and even doing all the little doodles from the dark corners of my mind. And I've been so touched and moved by the wonderful stories you all have shared in the comments of your own special food memories! I still have some more ideas, so I think I'll keep up with some occasional Noshtalgia posts, as an ongoing series. Yay!

the layout

my brother and I were supposed to set the table every night.

One of the things I remember most about dinnertime in our house was that we always had dinner together. It was usually at 6 or 6:30 pm, and we each had a place at the table where we sat every night. We had placemats, cloth napkins, and we set the table, and we had to put our napkins on our laps. No leaning back in your chair! Through some miracle of effort, my mom prepared a complete meal every night. Proteins, starches, and veggies every night... a dietician's dream. No desserts. I usually drank OJ and my brother liked milk. Otherwise, the choice was tap water. I am so deeply grateful to my mom (and my dad) to this example that they set - time to be together as a family, to talk, to share a meal, and to eat a balanced diet.

Each of us had certain dishes of my mom's that we particularly loved... and one of mine was Garlic Noodles. It was usually a side dish, but it was the best thing on the plate as far as I was concerned. Basically it was noodles with butter and garlic. What's not to like? I remember always being so happy to find out that we were going to have garlic noodles! Sometimes I would ask for them especially, because I loved them so much!

While I was spending part of my junior year of college in Italy, I discovered the simple joy of "Pasta Aglio e Olio"(Pasta with Garlic & Olive Oil). Basically, Garlic Noodles. Ha ha! It took me right back to the dinner table with my mom and dad and brother. So sweet to feel connected, so far from home.

Plus, at some point along the line, I discovered the version with chopped parsley ("prezzemolo!") in it, and that is a wonderful addition. The fresh, green bite of the parsley is a great balance with the garlic and the pasta. So, that became my new, grown-up take on Garlic Noodles.

look at all those little golden garlicky bits!!

These days, we hardly ever eat pasta. We both started watching our weight and counting calories, and sadly, pasta had to go. We used to eat it all the time, and Pasta Aglio e Olio was one of my favorite ways to make it. Generally, Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats is a red sauce guy. He likes garlic, but I loooooove garlic, and I can really get behind some serious garlic in my food. For his sake, I usually dial it back a little. This dish has so much more oil in it than I ever use anymore, but y'know, it's sorta one of the main ingredients... so you kinda have to embrace it and enjoy your moment. It was so fun to have this again, and we served it alongside a ginormous bowl of fresh steamed broccoli, which was a great combo.
Garlic Noodles (aka Pasta Aglio e Olio)
You can call it Garlic Noodles if you want to feel cozy and noshtalgic. 
You can call it Pasta Aglio e Olio if you are having company over for dinner

1/2 lb. pasta shape of choice
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced/chopped. depending on your threshold
2 Tbsp good quality olive oil, divided (up to 4 tbsp if you are feeling crazy)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1 cup parsley, chopped

Get your water boiling. Add the noodles, and cook as directed.

While the pasta is cooking, put 1 Tbsp oil in a small skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until most of the garlic bits are starting to turn golden. Set aside and remove from heat.

When the pasta is ready, drain the noodles and return them to the pot. Add in the garlic-oil mixture, the salt, the parsley, and the extra Tbsp of olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon to integrate it all, taste for salt and serve. Yumz!


  1. I LOVE garlic noodles!!! It is really the only way I eat pasta anymore (fortunately my husband likes it as much as I). Sometimes I'll use basil instead of parsley, and last time I added artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes (it worked!), but nothing beats the old fashioned way. I make a big batch so I can bring the leftovers for lunch (my co-workers love me :-) ).

  2. another great post! i'm going to miss this series!

    i love pasta with garlic and olive oil. mmm! your parsley-fied version is making me so hungry!

  3. Yay for continuing Noshtalgia beyond MoFo! This garlic noodle bowl sounds and looks fantastic for any night of the week.

  4. Yeahhh garlic noodles! I love pasta and lots and lots of garlic. BUT, not as much as I've loved your posts this past month. I looked forward to reading about your lovely, comforting memories like I look forward to seeing beloved old friends. A job very, very well done, Amey! (Except now I feel like I know your relatives so well, if I see them in real life I will probably cause a scene of embarrassment for all involved.)

  5. Love this post (a long-time fav, Pasta Aglio e Olio) and especially love the tribute to parsley. Thanks!

  6. I loooove garlic too Amey! Even when Nick & I make red sauce we garlic it up to the max!

  7. Garlic noodles = yummmmmmmmmm yummmmmmmmmm!

  8. Yes! I had pasta like this in Italy, except with basil instead of parsley. It's funny how nowadays, two tablespoons of oil seems like so much. Sometimes I miss the old days of oil-excess — it does make pasta taste good. Now, it just tastes too oily! I hope my kids remember that we sat down to dinner every night as a family, and I made full-out vegan dinners. :)

  9. Hello fellow Vegan Mofo'er :-)

    Love your "Garlic noodles" and noshtalgic illustrations, and would like to link to your recipe on the Vegan Mofo round up post on my blog this Friday.
    Nice to meet you btw.

    P.S. Connect with me on Facebook (CandidaDietPlan), @candidadiettips on Twitter and Sandra Boehner on Pinterest so you see when the post goes live ;-)

  10. What kismet. I am basically making this right now – garlic is wafting in from the kitchen – but I make mine also with cauliflower (or broccoli!).

  11. Anonymous9:31 AM

    I loved your mofo theme, and the recipes - it was really fun reading!


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