Catalina Cooking: Simple Pasta

Courtesy photo

Well the June gloom has really been in and out this week. Seems that halibut were jumping onto the local beach and private boats. The Betty O in Marina Del Rey came home with 18 last Saturday I think it was.

Anyway, I did a nice fish and chips with halibut and was ready to throw that one this way. But I made pasta on Sunday. This is as simple and wonderful as it gets, however I will give you some varieties. This one uses literally 6 ingredients. This would be the perfect dish to go with those lettuce tacos last week.

• Pound of Pappardelle pasta. Really worth it, but just use what you have or what you can find easily

• 4 ounces of killer extra virgin olive oil

• 4 cloves garlic minced

• Tons of shaved fresh Parmesan Reggiano

• Sea Salt & Black pepper to taste.

• Hand full of fresh arugula

Take a large pot of water and put a bit of salt and put on a large flame waiting for the rolling boil. In a stainless bowl large enough to cover the pot, add the olive oil, the garlic some salt and pepper. Get the plates ready before your drop the pasta. It is all about the timing.

Drop your pasta and reduce heat as not to boil over. Just keeping the stainless bowl mixture hot and blending the garlic, olive oil and seasoning. Keep taking out a ribbon of pasta to taste the texture. When it is al dente. Strain and pop in the stainless bowl. A little bit of the cooked pasta water is ok as well. Toss wildly with the arugula and serve in bowls with the cheese.

When you start the mixture you can add some fresh diced tomato to the bowl as well and use fresh basil for the tomato garlic and basil pasta. Serve with grilled WSB, shrimps, lobster or chicken. Just simple and good. This is how some of the finest Italian and French places make it happen and taste soooo good.

If you feel a bit like taking a risk, take 4 egg yolks and 6T fresh lemon juice in the stainless bowl with about 4 T olive oil. Wish it together nice. Drop you pasta and for about the last two minutes put the egg mixture stainless bowl on top of the pasta water to warm the mixture but not cooking it. Feel and it should be hot but not scalding. Keep whisking. Now toss in the pasta with a bit of the cooking water with some parm and chopped flat leaf parsley. Season with sea salt and black pepper. That will blow minds for sure. Try it simple and just keep adding what YOU want to. Yes whatever pasta you would like to use. IF you roll out your own pasta and would like the original Spago recipe for the dough, I would love to share it with you. You cannot top fresh homemade pasta period. I was in and out of there when they opened and Steve Singer (RIP) came up with quite a bit of the original recipes. We worked together at La Toque on Sunset late 70s. La Toque and Ken Frank are now killing it in Napa. Say hi for me.

Capt. Vaughn Allen was a private chef and butler for the ultra rich and famous most of his life. Vaughn was recently called out of retirement to cook the intimate celebration dinner for Sir Ringo Starr and his close friends. Vaughn is a businessman, scuba instructor and most recently a yacht broker in Redondo Beach. You can contact him at


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