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Spaghetti and Vegetables Aglio e Olio

August 21, 2013

Garlic and olive oil (known as aglio e olio) are the quintessential flavours of Italian cuisine. This dish is one of our family favourites. It's very simple, but timing is crucial, so prepare everything before you begin cooking. The vegetables must be done by the time the pasta is cooked. You can vary this recipe endlessly, depending on your mood and what you have on hand.

Serves 3


  • 1 carrot, thinly cut into 3-4 cm julienne strips
  • 10-12 asparagus spears, cut on the diagonal into 4 cm lengths (discard tough ends)
  • 3 tbsp Clearspring Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 50g Clearspring Shiitake Mushrooms, discard stalks and thinly slice caps
  • 250g Semi Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 50g Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
  • Clearspring Traditional Sea Salt or herb salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Place carrots in a steamer basket over 2 cm boiling water, cover, and steam for 3 minutes, or until just cooked. Rinse carrots with cold water until cool and set aside. Add the asparagus to the steamer and steam for about 5 minutes, or until just cooked. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan or sauté pan over a medium-low heat, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the shiitake and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté for about 4 minutes, or until the shiitake are tender.
  3. Bring plenty of salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti, stirring until the water returns to a rapid boil.
  4. While the spaghetti is cooking, place the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl along with the basil, olives and a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Add the steamed carrots, asparagus and parsley to the shiitake and sauté over a medium heat to warm the vegetables. Add a little salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  6. When the spaghetti is ‘al dente', drain, reserving about 125ml of the cooking water, and immediately toss the spaghetti with the basil and olives. Add the vegetables, mix well, and serve immediately, adding a little of the reserved cooking water, if the pasta begins to stick together.


John & Jan BellemeJohn & Jan Belleme

John & Jan Belleme are leading autorities on the healing powers of traditional Japanese foods. Before turning his focus to food and health, John was a research biologist for the Veteran's association in Miami, Florida, and he worked in laboratories at the Universities of Miami Medical School and Harvard University Medical School.

For more than twenty-five years John has applied his background in medical research to interpreting the literature on traditional Japanese medicinal foods.

In 1979, after living and studying in Japan for over a year - where the Bellemes learned the craft of miso making firsthand - they co-founded the American Miso Company, one of the world's largest producers of traditional miso.

Since the 1980s the Bellemes have researched and written, and in many cases illustrated, over 130 published articles on the subject of Japanese foods, including four books: Culinary Treasures of Japan; Cooking with Japanese Foods: A Guide to the Traditional Natural Foods of Japan; Clearspring - The Real Taste of Japan and The Miso Book.

John and Jan travel throughout the eastern United States giving lectures about authentic Japanese foods, and every winter, with partner Sandy Pukel, organise a week-long health cruise that features prominent experts in macrobiotic cooking, healthy living, holistic medicine, yoga, meditation, shiatsu, Pilates, and natural beauty aids. They live in Saluda, North Carolina.

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