Spaghetti Aglio e Olio


Bob's Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe

Aglio e olio. Try saying this as one word. Ten letters and seven vowels: Aglioeolio. In Italian opera, it probably would be set to two quarter notes. Understandably, it’s often shortened to “alioli.” Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is recognized by anyone whose last name ends in a vowel. It makes a great meal, a side dish or a snack after a rehearsal. (I really miss the rehearsals.)

The essential recipe is oil, garlic, salt and pasta. I’ve added two common but optional ingredients: parsley and red-pepper flakes. (Southern Italians love hot peppers.) Italians, in general, usually go light on the garlic so it’s balanced with the flavor of the oil. Italian-Americans tend to use much more garlic. You can use as much as you like. But, no cheese, please.

Here’s what you need.

(To serve two people as a meal or four people as a side dish)

8 oz imported spaghetti (DeCecco or Barillo brand)
¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium-sized garlic cloves, thinly sliced (more if you like)
red-pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
1 T fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Bring a pot of water to a boil, stir in one tablespoon of salt and when it returns to a boil add the pasta, stir well again, and bring back to a boil. While the pasta cooks, put the oil, garlic, salt, pepper flakes (if using) and half of the parsley (if using) into a sauté pan large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Two or three minutes before the pasta is done to your liking, turn the heat on to medium high and sauté the pan ingredients only until the garlic begins to brown on the edges. (Garlic that’s browned too much will turn bitter.)  Put a full ladle (1/2 cup) of pasta water into the pan and let it simmer.

Reserve a little of the pasta water, then drain the pasta, transfer it to the pan, add the remaining parsley and toss well until the water has evaporated. If the pasta isn’t yet done and the liquid has evaporated, add some of the reserved pasta water. Taste for salt, transfer to a serving platter and you’re ready to eat.

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