A Delicious But Simple Italian Staple Recipe: Aglio e Olio

It’s so easy and it so VERY good. It’s also a great sauce that can serve as a base for many pasta dishes. In Italy it is known as Aglio e Olio; garlic and oil. Despite the name which might scare those trying to cut down on the fat, especially as we move through the first month of the New Year, it’s actually not loaded with oil. Four to six tablespoons will suffice for an entire pound of pasta for four people. So, no worries there, and you can always add a little pasta water to stretch the sauce a bit.

What I love about this sauce is its adaptability. At Christmas time, for example, it’s traditionally made with anchovies.  If anchovies aren’t your thing, you can add some broccoli or rappini. Add some fresh clams and a little white wine and you have pasta vongole. If you are making a fish sauce back away from the grated cheese. That combo is a no-no and will result in the evil eye, or worse, in the Motherland, as cheese competes and can overpower the flavor of the fish.  Buon Appetito!

T’s Aglio e Olio (serves 4)

1 Pound Spaghetti or Linguini

4 cloves of garlic crushed

4 to 6 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Begin cooking the pasta in salted boiling water. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large frying pan. Add the oil and begin sautéing the garlic until just tender or clear and on a low heat to avoid burning or browning. This usually takes about five or six minutes. Add the red pepper flakes. While the pasta is still very al dente, or still very firm to the touch, reserve some of the pasta water to add to the sauce and drain the rest. Finish cooking the pasta in the pan, adding a ladle of pasta water to stretch the sauce and keep it from getting too dry. Add the fresh parsley and finish cooking, making sure not to overcook the pasta. Sprinkle generously with grated parm and serve with a crusty bread and a good white wine.


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