I hope everyone is having a great start to their new year! Normally, my husband and I go skiing for Capodanno (New Year’s Eve), but this year we decided not to go since the last two years there has been a pitiful amount of snow and mountains were depressingly brown. It’s just my luck that there have been record snow falls here and the mountains are blanketed in several meters of glistening white snow.
Even though we missed out on some great skiing, we had a delightfully relaxing holiday so I certainly can’t complain. We spent Christmas in Napoli with my husband’s family and feasted for three days and then proceeded to continue this theme upon our return home to ring in the new year with friends at our place with a pot luck/buffet style dinner. About an hour before our guests were to arrive, my husband randomly asked me if we had any pasta. I said, “Maybe a little, but why do you want to make pasta? We have a ton of food…arancini, pumpkin soup, stuffed pork, a bunch of side dishes, salad and a full (yes, I said full) table of desserts.” He said, “No, not for dinner, but for the end of the night when everyone wants to eat something.” I guess you can equate it to after an evening out you want to binge on something something greasy and delicious. In Italy, the late night binge of choice is of course pasta…super simple, filling and completely satisfying. My husband proudly said he will make spaghetti con agile e olio or pasta with garlic and olive oil, and maybe a bit of hot pepper flakes and a good dusting of parmesan. Not a bad idea, I thought so I said, ” Go for it!”
So, my husband made a quick trip to the store and brought back 2 pounds of pasta and a liter of olive oil, yes a liter…for 6 people! We were prepared which means, of course, we did not end up making it. We opted instead to graze on all of the desserts that everyone had brought and sip on warm mulled wine to wind down our evening or by this time early morning.
So, now that we have 2 pounds of pasta and a liter of olive sitting in our cupboard, I figured I would put it to good use and make the spaghetti with garlic and olive oil that we did not eat on New Year’s Eve. Making this dish is more about the method than anything and it is great to have in your wheelhouse because more than likely you will have all of the ingredients in your pantry so no need for a trip to the supermarket which is a super win in my book!
Even though it sounds a bit counter-intuitive to give exact quantities to a super simple recipe, I was happy to have some guidance when I first started making it. The more you make the dish, you can tweak the ratios to adapt it to your own taste buds. Some prefer more garlic and others, like me, are a little heavy handed with the the hot pepper flakes.
You want to cook 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) or so of spaghetti per person in well salted boiling water. While your pasta is cooking, add either crushed or thinly sliced garlic cloves (1 per person) to cold olive oil (about a couple of tablespoons per person) in a pan. If you just want a hint of garlic, add the crushed whole garlic cloves and cook it gently until the oil is fragrant, them remove them. Once the garlic has just a hint of golden brown, add a half teaspoon chopped fresh or dried hot pepper flakes per person and let it gently sizzle for a minute. Next add the pasta that you have cooked al dente and stir until each strand is gleaming. Remove from the heat, stir in some chopped parsley and enjoy! It can’t get any simpler than that.
- 400 grams (14 ounces) spaghetti
- 8 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large garlic cloves; either thinly sliced or whole (crushed)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or dried chili peppers
- 1 to 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil to cook the pasta.
- While your pasta is cooking, add either crushed or thinly sliced garlic cloves (1 per person) to cold olive oil (about a couple of tablespoons per person) in a pan. If you just want a hint of garlic, add the crushed whole garlic cloves and cook it gently until the oil is fragrant, them remove them.
- Once the garlic starts to sizzle a bit, add a half teaspoon chopped fresh or dried chili pepper flakes per person and let it gently sizzle for a minute.
- Next add the pasta and stir until each strand is gleaming.
- Remove from the heat, stir in some chopped parsley.