Aglio e Olio is the ultimate Italian comfort dish. It’s the one pasta dish that’s so simple yet so delicious that you can #tastethelove in every bite. The one thing I’ve found is, when a dish requires a few simple ingredients, it’s really important you use the best ingredients you can find.
Today I’m using this Artisanal pasta I found at my local grocery. Good quality cheese is very important, I’m using Pecorino Romano. This sheep’s milk cheese works well in this dish because it’s a little sharper in flavor and will stick perfectly to the pasta.
I’m also using a California, Extra Virgin olive oil.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) saucepot, a deep-sided frying pan, Microplane, chef’s knife, colander spoon
1 pound of artisanal pasta (substitute spaghetti)
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
5 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
1 1/2 cups of starchy pasta cooking water
2 cups of Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
In a cold large deep-sided frying pan add *E.V.O.O. To that, add red pepper flakes, totally optional. I just like a little heat for this recipe. Next, fresh-grated garlic. You want to start the pan cold and then slowly bring up the heat to infuse the garlic flavor. Not too high, medium heat, just enough to heat the garlic through, about 3 to 5 minutes. When you see little bubbles appear in the oil lower the heat to the lowest temperature and keep your eye on it while you cook the pasta.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, drop the pasta. Don’t forget to salt the pasta water (2 heaping tablespoons), it’s the only chance you get to season the pasta.
When the pasta has reached the al dente stage, about 10 minutes, I use a large slotted colander-style spoon to transfer the pasta to the pan with the garlic-infused oil, toss to coat all the pasta.
Now because the garlic-infused oil is the sauce, the pasta will absorb it quickly, so what I like to do is to add 1 1/2 cups of the starchy pasta cooking liquid to the pan, again tossing the pasta. This will loosen the sauce up a bit and allow the cheese to distribute evenly throughout the pasta without getting all clumped up.
Turn the heat off, add the freshly grated cheese, fresh ground black pepper, and finally sprinkle in the chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. When you’re finished you’ll have a delicious bowl of Aglio e Alio.
*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.