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Garlic Pasta at 4 a.m.


Crazy Saturday night with friends. We continued drinking at my place well beyond our 3 1/2 hour stint at The Gibson, deep into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Stomachs were grumbling so Mr. Fresh sprang into action. Spaghetti aglio olio (garlic and oil), a great dish that anyone can make with pantry ingredients we all have on hand (or should have on hand): garlic, olive oil, spaghetti, chili flakes, Parmigiano-Reggiano.

It’s an uber-easy, deeply-satisfying pasta. My pasta rules stand firm: Always cook the noodle two minutes less than the package instructs and toss it with the condiment. Reserve a cup of pasta water to loosen the combined ingredients if they appear too tight. Pre-heat your pasta bowls!  Also, right before bringing the nearly-finished product to the table, always give it a spritz of good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

We all greedily consumed this pasta within minutes. Then again, we were drunk and dawn was nigh.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

1 bulb of garlic, all cloves sliced thinly – remove green germ from each clove

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (more or less, depending on your heat tolerance)

1 lb spaghetti

Freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Bring to boil a large pot of water.

2. Saute on medium heat olive oil and garlic until translucent. If it starts to brown, add some water or white wine.

3. When pasta water boils, add several tablespoons of salt and then pasta. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

4. Remove a cup of pasta water.

5. Take pasta out two minutes before it’s finished and toss in the saucepan with the garlic/olive oil mixture. If it looks too tight, add a little of the pasta water. Combine for at least a minute.

6. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle in the red chili flakes and chopped parsley. Combine with tongs.

7. Twine pasta into the serving bowls. Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano on top of the pasta followed by a spritz or two of good-quality olive oil.

Serves 4

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