aglio e olio pasta for two
In Italian, "aglio e olio" translates to garlic and oil. Aglio e olio is a match made in heaven and is traditionally prepared for pasta. It is super important to use Olinda olive oil since this pasta is the perfect opportunity to showcase premium olive oil. The dish is simple, saucy and smells like heaven. It is pretty romantic indeed. The recipe involves adding the pasta water to the garlic and olive oil. The pasta water contains starches from cooking the pasta, creating a luscious and creamy sauce. I prefer bucatini or spaghetti, as the long strands of pasta hold the sauce. Bucatini pasta hugs the sauce and has smooth texture. It is my personal favorite shape of pasta.
Lauren Furey, adapted from Ina Garten
1/2 pound dried long noodles, ideally bucatini or spaghetti
3 tablespoons Olinda olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, optional
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 lemon, juiced, optional
Freshly cracked black pepper, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a large pinch of salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Set aside about 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium pot large enough to hold the pasta.
Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just begins to turn golden on the edges! Do not burn it, as it will taste bitter. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Slowly add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer for about 3 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.
Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss with a pair of tongs. Remove from heat. Add the parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Top with extra parmesan, lemon juice and freshly cracked black pepper, if desired.