Habanero Garlic Pasta
- 8-12 peeled cloves garlic (good-sized)
- 1 fresh habanero (dried will work if you soak it in hot water to soften)
- ½ stick of butter
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 pound angel-hair pasta
- ½ cup shredded (not grated) romano or asiago cheese
- finely minced fresh parsley (optional garnish)
- salt & pepper
- Start a pot of well-salted water for boiling the noodles.
- Slice the peeled garlic gloves into thick slices, about 4-5 slices/clove. The amount of garlic is a matter of taste, so be sure not to over-garlic this.
- Slice open the habanero, remove the seeds, pith, and stem, and slice as finely as possible into thin threads of habanero.
- Wear a glove on your left hand—a plastic sandwich bag or spare plastic grocery bag will do nicely—so that your skin never, ever comes into direct contact with the habanero.
- Slicing into fine threads can be done easiest with the point of the knife on a chopping block if you prefer.
- Be careful when cleaning up so you don't get habanero juice on you from the cutting surface or the knife.
- Melt the butter in a skillet, add the olive oil, and heat over a medium heat until a bit of garlic dropped in sizzles very gently.
- Put the angel hair pasta in the (now boiling) water.
- Immediately put the garlic and habanero into the olive oil. The ingredients should sizzle gently. Stir with a wooden spoon to break up any clumps and to ensure that everything browns evenly.
- Cook the garlic and habanero for 5 minutes or until the garlic starts to caramelize slightly. The angel hair pasta should be done by now (check for doneness). Remove the skillet from the heat. Caution: Don't let the garlic overcook or it’ll get hard and crunchy and taste slightly burnt.
- Remove the pasta from the heat and take to the sink. Add 1 cup of cold water to the pot, then drain immediately into a colander. Return the pasta to the pot.
- Drizzle the oil/garlic/habanero mix over the noodles. Use a fork full of noodles to swab out the skillet and get the last of the oil and the garlic and habanero pieces.
- Toss the pasta gently to mix.
- Put 1/4 to 1/3 of the pasta on a plate. Dust with salt and pepper. Put 2-3 Tbsp of the shredded romano cheese in a line or an “X” across the pasta. If desired, sprinkle with 1 tsp. of finely minced fresh parsley for garnish (be sure to try the dish with and without; parsley may compete with the other flavors too strongly for your tastes).