Levantine Spaghetti


Walking home from school was always the most exciting time of the day.  The entire way I would always try and guess what we would be having for lunch when I get home.  I've definitely been a foodie all my life! A few days of the week I would find Nana there preparing lunch with my mother.  Sometimes Teta would be there too, as she lived on the floor above us. Walking into the house and finding all of them there was the most comforting thing that I can remember growing up.  It is amazing the feeling you get when you walk into a room filled with so much love.



Everyday, the first thing I would ask after walking in from school was “Shu’l ghada?” (What’s for lunch?). They understood that food was always on my mind and were always ready for that question.  A lot of times I was able to tell what they were making just by the smell from a block away.  The most aromatic of all dishes was my Mom’s pasta, where I would literally smell it from a few blocks away. There’s something about frying garlic in butter that spreads like a toxic fume of deliciousness! The smell of garlic was always an indication that my mother was making her Spaghetti.  Mama didn’t cook that much but when she did it always turned out a masterpiece.  She knew very well how to use the secret ingredient; love. 

Mama Lina
The beautiful lady in the picture is my mother Lina. This might sound crazy to many, but as a little boy I always called my mother by her first name and didn't really start calling her "mama" until I reached middle school. Growing up she was more of a friend, even a best friend.  Her and I would hang out for an entire day at times and would always keep each other entertained. Even today, mama is the only person I can sit with for 10 hours and not get bored for a minute. I miss her smile, her jokes, her elegance, her Spaghetti......everything! 

The video I made here is her recipe with my touch added. She doesn’t know that I made this and it will probably be a while before she sees it as the Internet connection back home is very slow.  Everything there “runs on diesel” as the saying goes in Arabic! I will keep my readers posted about her reaction to the video on my next post. I dedicate this video to you mama with all the love in the world! 



Ingredients:

1 package of thick Spaghetti
2 cups of Arabic cheese
½ cup milk
8 cloves of garlic
half a stick of butter
1 small bunch cilantro
¼ cup fresh thyme
1 can of plain yogurt




-Chop the garlic and cilantro.
-Chop the cheese pieces into small cubes then rinse with water to remove the excess salt.
-Separate the little thyme leaves by hand.
-Boil the Spaghetti after adding a little olive oil and salt to the water then drain the water.
-Put the can of yogurt in the blender to liquefy more.
-Fry the garlic in the butter and add the cheese cubes one minute later.
-Add the milk when the cheese starts to melt and cook for another 5 minutes.
-Add the cilantro and Spaghetti.
-Mix well, then sprinkle the thyme leaves.
-Add as much yogurt as you like and serve! 



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