Most people fall in love with Italian food whilst on a trip to Italy, but I’ve never been to Italy. Instead, I visited Italy vicariously through cooking programs. Last Christmas, I binge-watched practically every episode of Gino’s Italian Escapes on Youtube. This show really inspired and motivated me to actually learn to cook authentic Italian food for myself. On deciding this, Aglio e Olio was the dish I learned to make first. In terms of ingredients, it’s super simple and quick to make. However, the key to making this dish really amazing is all in the method.
I absolutely loved this dish from the first time I made it. Admittedly it was a bit of a shambles, I didn’t get the oil to pasta ratio right and I used far too much garlic. However, I kept on practising and since then we’ve eaten some variation of Aglio e Olio at least once a week. Once I got the hang of it, I started experimenting with additional flavours. That’s how we arrived at this recipe. The original recipe didn’t need much veganising, it calls for parmesan which we’ve simply replaced with cashew parmesan. One of my favourite things about our spin on this classic is the addition of the crispy cannellini beans. It was Freya’s idea to try using them as a topping, and they work perfectly. The crunchy beans add a much-needed source of protein as well as an extra crunchy texture. The capers and olives enhance the salty Italian flavours, complimenting the garlic perfectly.
This dish could be eaten for lunch, dinner, for friends & guests or for an Italian date night at home. Serve with a side salad, some bruschetta and a lovely glass of cold white wine. Perfetto!
Spaghetti Aglio E Olio With Crispy Cannellini Beans
Crispy Cannellini Beans
- 1 can cannellini beans (400g)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
Aglio e Olio
- 400 g spaghetti
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely sliced
- 1 packed cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 1/3 cup black olives, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup capers
- a sprinkle of salt & pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Drain & rinse your can of cannellini beans, then tip them into a mixing bowl. Pour in the olive oil and sprinkle in the salt and pepper, then mix everything together so that the oil has evenly covered the beans. Then tip out onto a baking tray, and spread the beans out evenly. Place into the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
- Now make your cashew parmesan. Place the cashews into a blender with the nutritional yeast and salt, and blitz for a few minutes until a fine crumb has formed.
- After the cannellini beans have been in the oven for 15 minutes. Cook your spaghetti. Place it in a large pan of salted boiling water, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Whilst your spaghetti is cooking, put the olive oil and garlic into a cold frying pan. Then turn the heat on low and cook for a few minutes. You want the garlic to just be bubbling in the oil, not burning to a crisp. You want the garlic to slowly go nice and brown, infusing the oil over time. Whilst the garlic is cooking add the parsley and chilli flakes and stir together.
- Once the pasta has cooked, drain it, then add it straight into the pan of garlic, parsley and chilli. Now add in the olives and capers, and stir together so that the spaghetti is coated by all the lovely garlicky oil. Your cannellini beans should now be ready.
- Plate up in a nice big pasta bowl and top with a sprinkle of salt & pepper, the crispy cannellini beans, the cashew parmesan and finally some fresh parsley.
If you gave this a go, we’d love to know how you got on! Write a comment, like, or share this recipe with your friends.