In one month, I'll be in Italy. I know that when I come back, any Italian dish I attempt to make will taste like sawdust. So, in the meantime, I'm sharing a favorite while it still tastes delicious. It's just pasta, olive oil, garlic, and crushed pepper flakes. If you're like me and you're a fan of the way the noodles themselves taste, this is the best preparation of pasta. It's so simple.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
½ lb. pasta
salt for the pasta water
1 tablespoon olive oil (the fruitier, the better)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced parsley
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Get a big pot of water on to boil.
Salt it generously and cook the pasta until it's al dente.
While the pasta's cooking, smash open two cloves of garlic and slice it thinly.
Heat up a large skillet over medium low heat and add in some oil.
Drop in the garlic cloves and let them sizzle. Cook them just long enough so that they turn golden brown. You're looking for them to be lovely and brown so that they're not so pungent. But, don't let them get too dark or else the garlic gets bitter.
Sprinkle in the crushed pepper flakes and then turn off the heat.
Before draining the pasta, grab a scoop of the pasta water and set it aside.
Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss to coat in the oil.
Sprinkle in a generous amount of cheese and toss.
Add in a little pasta water to loosen up the noodles a bit. The olive oil will soak into the noodles pretty quickly so you want enough moisture in the pasta to prevent it from congealing and sticking.
The final touch is to sprinkle in a little parsley.
Swirl the pasta into bowls and garnish with a little more cheese and parsley and serve.
It's such a simple dish but it's amazingly delicious. The garlic is crisp and fragrant, the crushed pepper flakes add a kick, and the cheese adds a salty creaminess. This takes all of 10 minutes to whip up and then you can stuff your face.