04 May 2009

Garlic Spaghetti

You know that when someone describes a recipe as "the recipe I wish to have chipped on my tombstone as my greatest contribution to human happiness" that you're in for something good. There are lots of potentially scary things about this dish: the quantity of raw garlic, the raw egg, the butter, and then there's all that raw garlic. Don't wuss out, this is an amazing meal. 

**Obligatory Note of Caution: the egg in this dish does cook some when mixed with the hot pasta, but not completely. If you are preparing food for children, the elderly, or the immune compromised, always make sure your eggs are thoroughly cooked.** The public health degree holding part of me is now satisfied.

from Passionate Vegetarian, by Crescent Dragonwagon (and no, I don't think that's her real name, but she makes some darn tasty food)

The One, the Only, the Greatest Garlic Spaghetti
8 oz. spaghetti or fettuccine
1 large egg
4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled
3 to 4 Tbs. butter, softened
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper (optional)
Bacon bits, veggie or real (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to vigorous boil, and drop in the pasta.
2. As the pasta cooks, gently warm either the serving bowl or individual plates.
3. Combine the egg, garlic, butter, Parmesan, basil, a little salt, and a lot of pepper in a food processor. Buzz, pausing to scrape down the sides, until a thick paste forms.
4. When the pasta is al dente, drain it but do not rinse. Quickly transfer it to a bowl and dollop it with the garlic paste. Toss like mad, adding a little more pepper and a dash or two more salt. The garlic aroma should be driving you crazy by now, so...
5. Sit down and eat from the warmed plates, sprinkling with the optional red pepper flakes, bacon bits, or more grated Parmesan.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Emily. Crescent changed her name when she married her first husband. They decided to make up a new surname. Then she got famous and kept it. She is the daughter of Maurice and Charlotte Zolotow, two of the best in children's literature. But what I love is that I wanted to make this and I'm in Costa Rica without my cookbooks, so it's wonderful to find you have posted it here!

  2. Yes, this is the italian recipe for 'spaghetti alla carbonara'. I live in Italy since a lifetime...
    We use less pepper, however.
    One can also mix for a moment all the ingredients at the end, when the spaghetti are ready or 'al dente' in a large frying pan - at low temperature. Eat them immediately afterwards.
    And like cheese-types also 'grana padana' is a good one.

  3. Just wanted to second Peggy's thanks on this post, though in my case from Kiev, Ukraine.

    And, yes, anyone with kids or a passion for curiously good books should certainly check out Crescent's pictures books. For the foodies and romantics out there "This Is the Bread I Baked for Ned" is a real find.