Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pasta "fermo degli odori"

So, this pasta has a funny Italian name. Fermo degli odori. The thing here is, the name is kind of funny not only because it's an Italian name. It's funny even for those who speak Italian, because it literally means "stop the flavors". As in "trap the aroma and let it out later, when everyone is there to enjoy it". 
Makes no sense, right?

Well, let me explain.

This pasta is so easy to make, it's almost a joke, yet it never fails to impress whoever you make it for both because it tastes fresh and wonderful and because it has a certain dramatic flair to it, something that makes people ohhhh and ahhhh kind of like when you flambe crepes suzette in front of them. Only difference is that with this pasta you don't even have to set anything on fire and you don't have to worry about burning your hand. 
The only thing you need to make this pasta is a serving bowl with a tight fitting lid. Or a big pot with a tight fitting lid. Or whatever you can think of with a tight fitting lid. The concept is very easy: take a bunch of fresh herbs —pretty much whatever grows in your garden— mince them with some garlic, place them on top of cooked noodles and some room temperature tomato puree... and then pour boiling hot extra virgin olive oil on it. Place the lid on your bowl right away, bring it to the table and, with the appropriate dramatic flair, remove the lid. The aroma of the herbs and garlic scorched by the hot EVOO will fill the room within seconds and, I guarantee this, everyone at the table will ohhh and ahhh even before they taste the pasta. Which, incidentally, is also something to ohh and ahh about.

Serves 4

1 pound spaghetti or short pasta if you prefer
2 cups tomato puree, brought to room temperature and seasoned with salt
A bunch of mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme and chives)
2 large garlic cloves
Crushed red pepper
3/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Cook pasta according to directions.

Mince all the herbs and garlic together, and season with crushed red pepper.

In a small pan heat up the oil so it's very hot but not smoking.

Prepare your serving bowl with the tight fitting lid by warming it up in the oven. When pasta is ready place it in the bowl, top with the tomato puree and sprinkle the herb mixture on top. Pour very hot oil over it and cover the bowl with the lid immediately. Bring to the table, remove lid, smell the wonderful aroma wafting through the room, then stir the pasta until is well mixed and serve.


  1. 3/3 cup of olive oil? Is this some new measurement concept that I'm out of the loop on?

    It really does look delicious, though. :)

  2. This sounds like my dinner tomorrow night. Hope the project you were working on turned out perfectly. I'm in Ohio right now -- 18 C at night, 26 C during the day. And low humidity. Perfect! I hope the weather is the same there. Harriet

  3. Aside from the fact that this easy to do, after watching the World Cup last night, I think we all need something to oooh and aaaah over. I've never heard so much swearing coming out of my neighbors' windows yesterday...

  4. TKW, thanks for pointing that out, it was supposed to be 3/4 cups, but that's what happens when you write while you are hungover! =)

    good to hear from you! And glad to hear you are on vacation. The temps here are perfect... very similar to Ohio's as a matter of fact!

    I think you could have heard me screaming and swearing all the way from Milano...

  5. Mmmm, anything easy - not to mention CHEAP! - appeals to me right now! =)



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