Recently, after a pasta dinner at my friend Rachel’s house, we were talking about, well, pasta. It was about a week after I’d made this linguine to eat for myself. So when Rachel went around and asked each of her guests what our go-to pastas were, I was surprised to hear her say that hers was fairly similar to this one. Here I was thinking I was alone in enjoying a good fishy splash of garlicky olive oil coating my pasta. Apparently not. Rachel’s version–which I’m sure to try soon–includes broccoli rabe, plus the ingredients in this post’s super simple pasta.
Aglio e olio is the definition of a desperate dinner. Everything in its short ingredient list comes straight from the pantry. It comes together quickly. But that doesn’t make it foolproof: there are a few things you just don’t want to mess up. The garlic should be just golden–never brown–and the olive oil should be good. The anchovies, my addition, are optional, but I think they kick it up a notch. And then you simply top it all with grated Parmesan cheese.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Linguine Aglio e Olio con Acciuga
1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 pound linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Parsley for garnish (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
Pour the olive oil into a small frying pan. Set it over medium-low heat, and add the garlic cloves. When the garlic begins to sizzle, turn the heat to low. Cook, flipping the garlic occasionally, until all the gloves are deep gold, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves to a small bowl, and mash them if you’d like to use them in this dish, or reserve them for another use (like roasted garlic hummus).
Add the red pepper flakes and the anchovies, and stir to break up the anchovies. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain, reserving 3/4 cup cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in, and add the seasoned oil, the smashed garlic if you’re using, and 1/4 cup pasta water. Cook for about 1 minute, to let the sauce come together, then add half the parmesan cheese and toss.
Serve immediately, topped with more parm and some parsley if you like.