St. Francis Caracciolo might not be the most famous St. Francis, but he’s got his own fascinating life story.
Born in the Kingdom of Naples in the 16th century, this devout young man came down with a case of leprosy at 22. Desperate, he promised God he would serve Him all his life should he be cured. Sure enough, he was soon cured, and Francis went on to become a priest.
Fate soon struck once more. Francis received a letter intended for a different Caracciolo, a man named Fabrizio, asking him to help found a new religious institute. Francis, not one to sneeze at an opportunity, felt this task was meant for him, and helped create the Order of the Clerics Regular Minor.
When the Order’s main died, Francis was chosen as his successor for Superior General, despite his protestations. He was known for humbly sweeping floors with everyone else, spending long hours in the confessional, and his love of the Eucharist.
He died in the 17th century, at only 44 years old, on the eve of the feast of Corpus Christi.
Known as the patron of Naples, he also happens to be the patron of Italian chefs. And what’s more Italian than pasta aglio e olio?
This simple pasta is based off the classic Italian dish, with a few modifications to add texture and healthy vitamins.
- 6 cups of pasta*
- Six cloves of garlic, minced
- Half a medium-large onion, chopped
- 1 cup Cremini Mushrooms, sliced**
- A few handfuls of baby spinach (never frozen)
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- Chili flakes (optional, but recommended)
Boil pasta in a large pot.
Meanwhile, cook onion in a pan over medium heat, until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes, until mushrooms begin to shrink. Stir in spinach and let it wilt before turning down the heat.
When the onion mixture is on low heat and pasta is nearly done, heat up olive oil in a small pan. Put the garlic in the pan while the oil is heating up, not once it's already heated. This keeps the garlic from burning.
When garlic is sizzling in the pan and moving towards a golden colour, remove from heat. Drain pasta and mix all ingredients together, with the garlic/oil poured on last. Add salt to taste and chili flakes if desired. Voila!
* You can use whatever kind of pasta you want, but we find cavatappi, penne and rigatoni work best.
**Have fun with the veggies! We often use eggplant, but sliced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini are other options.