Aglio e olio
A triumph of simplicity, aglio e olio, the classic no-sauce sauce of olive oil and garlic is more a condiment than an actual sauce. As such it requires each component to be at its best. The olive oil should be extra virgin and pressed within the last year. The garlic cloves must be fat and unsprouted. If you’re making the dish in spring, use freshly harvested new garlic bulbs that haven’t yet been dried. Add a small chile or a pinch of good dried chile flakes. I add a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt and a bit of chopped parsley to make the pasta pop. It’s the perfect template to embellish, perhaps with a can of tuna or a couple of sweet shrimp or a bit of crab that you’ve sautéed in butter or oil. Or just eat on a warm day accompanied by a glass of chilled wine and a crisp salad.
When figuring dry pasta amounts I use the Italian convention of 100 grams per person.
From the story: Pasta PSA: Please don’t buy terrible supermarket fresh pasta. Here’s why
Add enough oil to a small skillet to generously coat the bottom of the pan by about ¼-inch (you will want enough oil to stew the garlic, not saute). Add the garlic and cook over low heat until the garlic turns translucent and gives off its aroma. You may want to allow it to get a bit more golden, but remember that it keeps cooking off the heat and burns quickly. Add the chile flakes and allow to sizzle for a few seconds. Remove the pan from heat, add salt to taste and squeeze the lemon juice into the pan. Add the parsley and stir to mix.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in abundant boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, leaving a bit of moisture clinging to the pasta. Place the pasta in a serving bowl, add the garlic-oil mixture and toss well to mix. Serve immediately.
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