About this recipe: This herbed pasta dish will delight every garlic lover. It's vegetarian-friendly and super-easy to make. Penne is tossed with sauteed garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, crushed chillies and Parmesan.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
This is a classic Italian side dish with much room for improvisation and versatility. Add more or less garlic to suit your tastes, but I would strongly advise against sauteing it for 10-15 minutes as the recipe directs. Browning the garlic is a risk that should definitely be avoided as it turns unpleasantly bitter. Just saute it for about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on the heat you're using, until fragrant. I also reduced the crushed red pepper significantly--it's presence should be subtle. Use herbs alone or in combination--no need to measure, just add to suit your taste. As with any cooked pasta, reserve some of the cooking water to add to the pasta if necessary as it sits. - 12 Mar 2009 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I have read a few reviews, and have noticed that quite a few people have said that the amount of herbage was simply overwhelming. And I can't help but wonder if they used dried herbs, rather than fresh. I used fresh herbs in the amounts recomended, and found myself eating a very fresh, very beautiful bowl of pasta. I did serve mine with additional grated parmesan on the side, and found that everyone used more, so perhaps the cheese could have been doubled. Given that the cheese is the only source of salt in this recipe, that may be the reason why we used so much extra cheese. Perhaps a sprinkling of salt would have cured that... Having said all that, I find myself making this often when I have a need for a good flavour, but little time. Final note: one other adjustment I made was to add a bit of lemon juice. Again, I served wedges at the table, and left each to their own. Some used it, some did not. I have tried it both ways, and it really depends on my mood, and how rich the other dishes I served alongside it. With other rich dishes, the lemon is a must. With light dishes on the side, I found it excessive. - 13 Oct 2008 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I made a few mistakes with this recipe that I wanted to share. First, I was paranoid about burning the garlic (which tastes horrible) and ended up undercooking it. Raw garlic is just too overpowering for most dishes... Find a happy medium. Second, I didn't have any parmesan cheese on hand, so I left it out. As a result, the dish needed salt to substitute for the cheese. I also made a large batch and planned to use it for pasta salad as lunch. Because the sauce is oil based, it does not absorb well in the refrigerator. The pasta tends to dry up a little. I suggest cooking a little past al dente or adding a little broth. I'm vegetarian and have experimented with vegetable broths unsucessfully. You meat eaters enjoy the chicken broth which works nicely with it. I had some pine nuts on hand and they made a nice addition. Just add them to the sauteing garlic with about 5 mins to go. I also found that the sauce needed a Tbsp or so of butter to add to the flavor of the rather bland olive oil. Fake margarine spreads works particularly well since they have more concentrated artificial "butter flavor". Also, make sure your skillet is large enough for the amount of pasta you make. Also better buy some breath mints while you still have friends. - 07 Apr 2003 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)