I know I've said a lot of things are comfort foods for me, but this is the ultimate. It's the one dish I always request from my nana, regardless of the time of year. There has always been a large bowl of it, covered in garlic and dripping seductively in fruity oil, on holidays ranging from Thanksgiving to Independence Day. It has been a mainstay in my family since I can remember and will forever be a regular part of my diet. It comes together in literally five minutes, has minimal ingredients and couldn't taste any more perfect. Feel free to double, triple or even quadruple the recipe - this is simply portioned for me.
Pasta aglio olio
- 2 oz pasta, preferably spaghetti or capellini
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Hefty pinch of red pepper flake
- Sea salt, to taste
- Parmesano-Reggiano (optional)
1. Pour yourself some wine. Play some Sinatra.
2. Peel your garlic and cut it in thin slices. Don't crush it! Leaving it in thin slices is key.
3. Heat a large pan on medium-low and add your olive oil. The more, the better. Toss in your garlic and red pepper flake and heat through until your pasta is done cooking. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn or else the entire dish will taste God awful.
4. Portion out your pasta. I use a quarter to measure the exact amount. It's very scientific, you know. I use capellini (angel hair) because I prefer it, but feel free to use spaghetti.
5. Add pasta to boiled, salted water. You know the drill. If using capellini, drain after 2 minutes. Any longer and it will be angel mush.
6. Immediately toss pasta in the pan along with your oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Try to be fancy by flipping the pan and fail to get a picture that isn't blurry in the process.
7. Plate, elegantly, of course.
Things things I highly recommend for this dish:
- Use regular pasta. Don't try to go all fancy and healthy by using whole grain; just buy the white pasta.
- Some recipes call for breadcrumbs or parsley, but don't bother with that because it's unnecessary. Simple is best.
- Don't skimp on the oil. The best part is sopping the leftover oil and garlic with a ripped piece of crusty bread. Just enjoy it.