Alert: this is in fact a film review. And it's for the film that inspired me to step my food blog up to the next level and really go for it— Chef. Here's my tale...
About a year ago, I took myself to the movies. I had been wanting to see Chef for some time, and finally indulged myself one quiet afternoon. If you haven't seen it, go rent it or watch it on Netflix (or whatever technology you use nowadays) because those two hours were some of the most fun I'd spent in quite some time.
Granted, my specific interest in the subject matter (food) certainly contributed to my immediate love of the film, but food-lover or not, it is a fun, uplifting, and inspirational story with a great cast of characters. And it will make your mouth water. Just a heads up— I bet that afterwards you will likely have a hankering for a Cubano sandwich. If you live in Marin and Sol Food is open- that's great, but otherwise you might have to create a suitable, and equally craveable alternative.
Not being in Marin, I did the next best thing, which was to high-tail it to the store and get the ingredients for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. No, not a Cuban, but when Jon Favreau cooks this garlicky treat for Scarlett Johansson late night, I couldn't think of much else for the remainder of the film. My chair dancing persisted, and at the end of the movie I whipped out my magic phone and Google searched to confirm that the garlic swimming in oil in Jon's pan was indeed the key ingredient for the classic pasta dish I was envisioning.
It was, and the best part was that my search resulted in not just any Spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe, but Roy Choi's recipe for the classic. For those of you less food nerdy than I, Roy Choi is the Korean food truck king, a classically trained chef who recognized that street food is well worthy of his Culinary Institute of America, Le Bernadin past. And Chef is all about a once top-tier, LA-based, Michelin star rated, restaurant chef turned food truck extraordinaire. Coincidence? I thought not. And a great addition to an already fantastic movie.
Watching Chef again with the Man (he hadn't seen it, and needed to understand why I'd been so excited) I noticed Roy Choi's name in the credits! Evidently I was so enthused by my first viewing that I bopped out of my seat and missed that little detail. So I looked up this LA Eater article about how Choi shaped the film. Pretty neat. Rumor of writer/director Jon Favreau and Choi partnering up to open a real restaurant in LA? Time will tell, but if so, I'm going. Besides, the Man has decided my life's mission is to make a grilled cheese with Roy Choi. An interesting mission since I don't eat grilled cheese or cook Korean food, but he really was the inspiration that I need to make Anne food. happen...
So here's my version of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. It's gluten-free, made with Pecorino, tastes a bit spicy, and is utterly delicious. I made it again last night. And hoarded the leftovers for lunch. What? I needed the inspiration!
SPAGHETTI AGLIO E OLIO
- 12 ounces brown rice spaghetti (Lundberg makes great gluten-free pasta)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 15 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
- 1 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated (I used a Microplane zester)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions. (Make sure not to overcook, as brown rice pasta can become gummy.) Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large cast iron (or deep sauté) pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir occasionally for a few minutes, or until the garlic is just starting to turn golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and add the red pepper flakes, a couple large pinches of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Add the drained spaghetti to the pan, and juice both lemon halves directly over the noodles. Toss until thoroughly combined. Add the parsley and Pecorino, and toss again.