Garlic spaghetti, called skordomakaronia, is a dish I always associate with Greek summer holidays. Last year, after a gruelling 36 hour journey Mr K arrived at his mother's home island of Zakynthos, to meet his parents. The first dish his mum placed on the table was a big bowl of skordomakaronia, with an extra big helping of freshly grated myzithra cheese. This is comfort food at its best.
This recipe is courtesy of Anna, who hails from the island of Syros. Anna is married to a good work friend of mine. Every now and again he brings a generous container of this beautiful spaghetti to work for me. What a treat! It is such a comforting dish with fresh, simple flavours. I warn you now - it is very hard to stop at one helping. I had to ask for the recipe, which Anna kindly shared.
Eating this spaghetti, I often find myself dreaming of summer holidays - especially summer holidays on the island of Kyithira. While Anna is from Syros, she and her hubby always return to the beautiful Island of Kythira every few years. Inspired by their holiday snaps (which I just wanted to melt into, when I saw the clear, aqua waters of Kythira) Mr K and I visited a few years ago. It was quite simply paradise. So much so, that when visiting his parents in Greece last year Mr K took them off from Zakynthos to Kythira. And you'll never guess what my mother in law cooked on their first night in Kythira. Yep, you guessed it. Skordomakaronia.
1/2 - 3/4 packet of spaghetti
1 cup of olive oil (or less if you prefer)
2 whole heads of garlic, sliced crossways into matchstick thickness
1 &1/2 - 2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of diced tomatoes (I used 6 fresh tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and finely chopped)
myzithra cheese, for serving (similar to ricotta forte)
Step 1. In a deep frying pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and when hot add the garlic cloves and fry them until they get lightly browned. Stir all the time so they do not burn. Then remove the garlic cloves from the pan, with a slotted spoon and place on a plate.
Step 2. In the garlic-infused oil, add the tomato paste, sugar and tomatoes and stir with a fork to incorporate it. Cook until the tomatoes are broken down.
Step 3. Cook spaghetti in boiling water with salt to your taste (al dente or more). Strain it, discard the water, and set aside.
Step 4. Add the garlic to the sauce. Mix well to incorporate and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the strained pasta to the sauce, toss the pasta through the sauce. Serve hot, topped with grated myzithra cheese.
While in Kythira we stayed at the very lovely Anatoli Hotel. We also enjoyed Manolis Taverna (pictured above) at Diakofti Beach, for delicious grilled calamari, home cut fried potatoes and beautiful fresh salads, with samphire gathered straight from the beach directly in front of us.
Diakofti Beach, 80200
t: +30 2736033748
Speaking of summer holidays, do you have a favourite place you love to return too and, lovely friends, I would love to know if there is there a special dish that you cook which takes you straight to that place?