Julia Child’s Spaghetti Marco Polo
(This is an old recipe that has been removed from my site, but I am leaving the printer-friendly recipe here in case anyone is looking for it.)
Makes 4 servings, Recipe slightly adapted from one which appeared in From Julia Child’s Kitchen. (affiliate link)
1/2 lb. spaghetti
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts (Julia used walnuts)
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (from a jar)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut in strips (I used more basil than Julia did)
sea salt/fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp. garlic puree or finely minced fresh garlic
4 T good quality olive oil
fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving (Julia says two cups, but I got by with a lot less!)
Fill a large pot with water, add a good sized pinch of salt, and heat water until it comes to a boil. While water is heating, toast pine nuts in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes until just starting to brown, drain canned olives and red peppers and chop coarsely, and chop herbs. Combine nuts, olives, red pepper, herbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
When water comes to a boil add spaghetti, stir, reduce heat slightly and let pasta cook at a fairly vigorous boil for 8-9 minutes, until barely “al dente” or slightly chewy in the center. You will need to start biting a piece of spaghetti after about seven minutes to tell when it is perfectly done.
When spaghetti is done, drain in a large colander. Heat the olive oil in the same pot you used to boil the spaghetti in, add garlic, and cook just a minute, long enough that you barely begin to smell a garlic smell, taking care not to let the garlic brown. Add spaghetti to the pan, toss to coat with oil and garlic mixture, and season with salt and pepper if desired. (I didn’t bother with this since there was salt and pepper in the herb mixture.)
Remove spaghetti to large serving bowl, top with mixture of nuts, olives, peppers, and herbs, and “with dramatic gestures and a large serving spoon and fork, life the spaghetti high to blend with the flavorings before serving it.” Serve with chopsticks if you dare, and pass parmesan cheese for each guest to add to their portion.