Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pasta With Garlic & Oil.

If there were any vampires lurking around our house, I'm pretty sure tonight's dinner scared them off. Garlic, more garlic and some red pepper flakes is what keeps the after dinner mints in business. But I would gladly reek of garlic to eat this dish, it's seriously one of my favorite ways to eat pasta. Pasta with garlic & oil is a classic, yet simple Italian dish. When it's done well, it's fantastic and when it's not....well so far it's only happened once and I still have nightmares about it.

There is a first time for everything and tonight I actually used a recipe to make one of my favorite meals. Normally I don't add raw garlic to this dish, which this recipe called for and I think I'm sticking to my way! I did like the addition of the toasted bread crumbs on top though. Lastly, I had fresh basil and decided to use that in place of parsley - I think I'm more of a parsley girl though. A note on the salt, I prefer Kosher salt - the husband sea salt, just use whatever you like best or have on hand.

Pasta with Garlic and Oil - Aglio E Olio

1 lb. spaghetti
table salt
6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. minced garlic (about 30 small, 20 medium, 10 large, or 5 extra large cloves) from 1-2 heads
3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof serving bowl on rack and heat oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to roiling boil, covered, in large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add pasta and 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt to boiling water, stir to separate pasta, cover, and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta.

2. While water is heating, combine 3 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in heavy bottomed nonstick 10-inch skillet; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw colored, 10-12 minutes. Off heat, add remaining tablespoon raw garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water to skillet and stir well to keep garlic from clumping.

3. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining reserved pasta cooking water and toss to coat. Add garlic mixture and 3/4 teaspoon salt to pasta; toss well to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkling individual bowls with portion of Parmesan, if desired.

Yield: 4-6 servings
Source: Cook's Illustrated, March 2001

Cook's Illustrated Note: For a twist on pasta with garlic and oil, try sprinkling toasted bread crumbs over individual bowls, but prepare them before proceeding with the pasta recipe.

My Note: I skipped the warmed dish in the oven & never add salt to the pasta water - but that's just me. You can do as you wish.

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