Spaghettini Aglio e Olio
This is the classic midnight snack of the Roman dolce vita. In its purest form it is made simply with fresh young garlic, full-flavored extra virgin olive oil, and a hint of hot red pepper. You can add parsley but you can omit it. This is Italian cooking at its best, with a few impeccable ingredients quickly and artfully combined: Its successful rendition is predicated on careful and loving preparation, making sure the garlic is sautéed long enough to release its rich flavor but not so long that it browns and becomes burnt.
Total time: 25 minutes
Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as part of a multicourse Italian meal
1 medium clove garlic
6 to 8 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 pound spaghettini
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 whole dried hot red pepper or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 6 quarts water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
2. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop enough of the parsley leaves to measure 2 tablespoons.
3. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water, put in the spaghettini, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until Al dente.
4. While the pasta is cooking, put the olive oil, garlic, parsley, and hot red pep per in a medium skillet and season lightly with salt. Place over medium-high heat and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle and the smallest pieces just begin to turn color. Discard the hot pepper if using whole. Remove from the heat and set aside.
5. When the pasta is done, drain it well, toss it with the sauce, and serve at once.