After days of stuffy nose and falling asleep in front of the TV, I felt a little better when I woke up this morning but still at less than my usual hundred per cent capacity. My taste buds didn’t seem affected though. There were a dozen things that I wanted to eat — from meat rolls to pasta. And I made them all. Meat rolls for lunch; and this spaghetti aglio e olio for dinner.
What is spaghetti aglio e olio? It’s the simplest, the most inexpensive and the easiest pasta dish to prepare. The classic Italian spaghetti aglio e olio has only three basic ingredients: pasta, olive oil and garlic. Salt is added for flavor; parsley is sprinkled for color and texture. There are only two steps in the preparation of the dish: boiling the pasta the tossing it in the olive oil in which the garlic had been browned. Let not the simplicity fool you though as the flavor and aroma are just awesome!
But, wait! That’s not all. While the basic spaghetti aglio e olio is already perfect by itself, you can also treat it as a base for other variations. To the basic pasta dish, you can add cooked shrimp, mussels or clams, or even crisp bacon bits!
Spaghetti aglio e olio
- 150 to 180 grams spaghetti (or the usual amount you’d cook for four)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic
- salt to taste
- a handful of roughly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
- Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water. When I say salted water, I don’t mean water with a pinch of salt added to it. I mean, really salted water — like sea water.
- Meanwhile, while the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a pan.
- Over medium heat, cook the garlic until lightly browned. Turn off the heat to prevent the garlic from browning too much.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the garlic and oil. Toss. Add the parsley and toss again. Taste the pasta. If it needs more salt, add more salt.
- The dish is complete at this point. This is the classic spaghetti aglio e olio and you can serve it right away. It is really, really tasty.
- However, if you’re feeling carnivorous…
- You may toss some crisp bacon bits with the pasta.
- And if you feel that a pasta dish really needs cheese, top your bacon invigorated spaghetti aglio e olio with shaved cheese. Parmesan or pecorino are recommended.