Spaghetti Aglio Olio
November 5, 2015 • Pasta & Pizza
When I was recently in southern Italy and Sicily, I think I had pasta almost every single lunch and dinner. I rotated through the selections to be sure I sampled the specialties of the regions, but I was fixated on two that I just couldn’t get enough of: spaghetti con vongole (spaghetti with clams) and spaghetti aglio olio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil). I just knew it wouldn’t be long before I had to get into the kitchen to make one of these to curb my cravings.This is not even really a recipe, it’s so easy to make. Just make sure you have some high quality spaghetti, and then cook it just until al dente (firm to the bite) in heavily salted water. About 2 ounces of pasta is what we consider a portion in the US, but I noticed when I was in Italy that the Italian packages of pasta show a serving size of 100 grams – that’s actually 3.5 ounces! Considering how much pasta I ate when I was there, it’s a miracle I didn’t gain any weight. I think it’s all about the Mediterranean diet. When you drain the pasta, reserve a little of the pasta cooking water.While the pasta is cooking, thinly slice some garlic. About 1 small clove per person is good.You’ll also needs some high quality extra virgin olive oil. Do yourself – and the farmers who grow olive trees – a favor: buy high quality oil from a producer you know is legit, not a big commercial supplier. Olive oil is one of the most fraudulent foods in the world, and you’ll only get the health benefits from the real thing. Put just a small amount in the hot pot that you cooked the pasta in and cook the garlic just until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Toss the pasta back in with it and add some of the pasta cooking water and cook just until it all comes together, about 20 seconds.Plate your pasta, drizzle a little (or a lot) more olive oil over the top, sprinkle with a bit of whole or ground red chile flakes if you like, and top with some freshly chopped parsley if you have it. Then sit down and devour it like I did!