This month’s Recipe ReDux theme married two of my loves: food & movies. With the Academy Awards just days away, we ReDuxers were charged with creating a healthy recipe inspired by our favorite food scene or featured dish from any movie, in honor of the Oscars. As much as the display of wealth and glamor can be stifling, I sheepishly admit, I love the buzz of Oscar night (I’m totally rooting for Argo.)
It was quite fun going through all my favorite movies in my mind, thinking of food scenes while trying to narrow down to the one recipe to make. Some had obvious foods scenes (Eat Drink Man Woman) and some did not (Sixteen Candles – though there’s that birthday cake in the last scene.)
But in the end, I knew it had to be from The Godfather series. My Italian-American hertiage totally draws me into these movies – Goodfellas, Moonstruck, Big Night. The mannerisms, the dialogue, the food are so relatable to my mother’s family (OK, except for the mafia references) – it’s like coming home when watching them.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (or spaghetti with garlic and oil) was inspired from a minor scene but one of my favorites from The Godfather, Part II. As young adult, Vito (Robert DeNiro) is meeting with his two friends Clemenza (Bruno Kirby) and Tessio (John Aprea) in his New York tenament home, discussing how to deal with the ruling neighborhood Don. Vito’s wife moves back and forth between the kitchen and dining room, handing over simple bowls of spaghetti as the men speak in Italian, with great gesturing to make their points, while expertly twirling their pasta, napkins tucked under chins.
Who knows what type of spaghetti they were eating but I guarantee it was a simple dish like most Italian pasta dishes – uncomplicated and using simple, fresh ingredients.
Some pointers to this recipe:
- The spaghetti is cooked al dente – literally meaning “to the tooth” or slightly firm. In recent years, I’ve started to use half regular pasta with half whole wheat to up my whole grain intake. (DeCecco is my favorite brand, Barilla is a close second.)
- When the pasta is done, do not rinse. Drain in a colander or simply transfer it with tongs to your sauce.
- I make the sauce in a large skillet or frying pan while the pasta is cooking. Cook your aromatics first (I tend to go heavy on the garlic but lighter on the red pepper flakes.)
- Add fresh herbs (here flat leaf parsley) and grated cheese right before serving.
I can just hear my Grandpop saying “Mangia! If you don’t eat, the heck with you!”
What is your favorite food scene from a movie? Who are you rooting for to win an Oscar this year?