My Favorite “Light” pasta! Pasta Aglio E Olio!

All you have to do is say the words Garlic and Olive Oil and I immediately get all hot and bothered.  One thing that is for sure is that I am totally PASTA CRAZY.  It’s my favorite thing to eat ever!  Which really sucks because you know, carbs/white pasta/white flour=straight to the ass.  I truly wish I could look at a piece of grilled fish with a side of veggies and fall in love.  It ain’t ever gonna happen! Once in a while it’s ok of course, but I would eat it everyday if I could. I’m not talking whole wheat noodles or even multigrain.  And definitely not gluten free.  I’m talking the real deal. Eggs, water, white flour…you know the drill.  If it’s fresh it’s even better.  But like I’ve said before….

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I buy fresh pasta all the time.  I love heavy pastas and lighter ones too.  They all have a special place in my food loving heart.  There are a few certain ones that I always crave.  However one of them is my all time favorite “lighter” pasta.  And I say lighter because it’s not loaded with cream, butter or cheese.  It’s not super healthy by any means (again, white pasta) but not horribly bad for you.  Just spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, parsley and parmesan cheese. What am I speaking of you ask?  Pasta Aglio E Olio!!  It’s delicious.  It’s easy.  There are not enough words for me to describe my genuine love for this dish.  After spending 8 days in Mexico, I was having pasta separation anxiety.  Cabo doesn’t do much pasta.  So I whipped this up last night for din din and ate a ginormous bowl.  I was happy the rest of the night and you will be too!

If you hate garlic:  you won’t like this pasta.  If you don’t want to have raunchy breath all night:  don’t eat this pasta.  If you are going to have a hot and heavy make session with a new lover:  consider yourself warned.  Garlic will seep from your pores.  Ok I’m kidding.  But for REAL.  Your breath will be stankin’! But I don’t care, it’s worth it!

My favorite place to eat Pasta Aglio E Olio used to be in Acapulco, Mexico at a place called Dino’s.  They used to make it table side and it was to die for.  Unfortunately for Dino’s and myself, I haven’t been back to Acapulco since 2002 when I got the worst case of food poising known to man!  (Not from Dino’s, but from another hotel.) If you ever want to go to Acapulco…gimme a call beforehand so I can talk you out of it.

Anyways, my favorite Chef Ina Garten makes the BEST version of this pasta.  I have made a couple modifications because I found her original recipe to be too salty.

Let’s start with some GAAHHHHHLIC Baby.

8 LARGE, LARGE cloves of garlic.  If they are not large then use 16 small.
Peel the garlic cloves and then slice them as thin as you possibly can.
Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley.  Mmmmm.  Remove from stems as best you can and chop it up.  I usually do 1/4 cup.
Put 1/3 cup of Olive Oil in a large saute pan.  I use Extra Virgin.
Over medium low heat sauce garlic until soft and lightly golden.  Ina says 2 minutes over medium.  I say 5-6 minutes over medium low!  You have to be careful not to burn and garlic cooks very quick.
Let it sizzle just a little!
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, add to oil! If you like it spicier add more.
1/2 teaspoon of salt next.  Ina calls for 1 teaspoon and I have found it to be way too salty. So add 1/2 teaspoon.  You can always add more but you can’t take away!!
Large pot of water with 2 Tablespoons of salt.  Very important to salt the water because it will flavor the sauce.  Once noodles are almost done, dip a glass measuring cup or coffee mug into the water and remove 1 1/2 cups.   Bring to a boil then let it simmer for 5 minutes or so.
Once it’s thickened up, it will look like this!  Now you are ready to add the spaghetti.
Mmmm get ready.
Turn off the heat and toss it good to combine.  Then LEAVE IT ALONE!  I know it’s hard.  The noodles will soak up all of the sauce.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Then toss again. Put some in a bowl, top with LOTS of freshly grated parmesan cheese and parsley.  
Behold!  Pasta Aglio E Olio.  Aka….stank breath best pasta eveerrrrrr. 

Here is the Recipe:

Pasta E Aglio Olio

Kosher salt
1 pound dried spaghetti
1/3 cup olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium low heat in a pot large enough to hold the pasta, such as a 12-inch saute pan or a large, shallow pot. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just begins to turn golden on the edges-don’t overcook it! Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.

Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss. Off the heat, add the parsley and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with lots of parmesan cheese.




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