Monday, January 4, 2010


This is a classic Italian pasta dish. It is a very old, very loved dish in Italy. This recipe is just the way I prefer it to be made. Play with it any way you want to fit it to your liking!

I first had this dish in Italy off of my friend Trena's plate out at lunch one day. After that, I began making it for myself EVERY chance I got... and honestly, still do. My little son and I eat it several times a week for lunch and I make it for my other son to take to school almost every day! He loves it that much!
Anyway, this dish is loved by all in my house except my husband. (He thinks we all have stinky breath after! Ah, the price of loving garlic!)

Garlic (as much or as little as you want. I am using 2 cloves for 2 people here)
Olive oil (again, as much or little as you want)
Red Pepper Flakes (I used 2 pinches here)
Oh... and Salt

Now... for the pasta, I prefer spaghetti, some people prefer penne... totally up to you. And for this dish, I have found that using whole wheat pasta or Barilla plus tastes better because it has a more rustic taste AND it absorbs more of the flavor from the oil.
I use Barilla Plus pasta for almost every dish I make. But that is me and I like the way it tastes better. That or fresh pasta... that will be another post all together!

First thing you need to do is put your water on the stove. And don't forget to put salt in your water. I use coarse sea salt for pasta water...

FYI... If you add olive oil to the water, you are really just wasting the oil. It sits on top and just gets dumped when you drain the water.

Okay, now we are going to put our olive oil in the pan. Throw in your red pepper flakes.

I go ahead and put the oil on the stovetop. I have a gas stove. I set my flame to about 4 and get right to the garlic.
When I start my garlic I just sit the clove down and give it a good whack with the knife. It makes peeling off the skin easy and fast!

Then of I cut my garlic up in smaller pieces. I do this because I want LOTS of garlic flavor in my oil. My husband would either leave it whole or only cut it in half. Again, that is up to you and your taste buds!

Now, I put the garlic immediately in the oil that is heating up. If your oil is ready, it will look like this when you put in the garlic. (Oh man... I wish we had smell-o-blogs because this smell is really just the whole reason why you make this dish!)
I leave it in the oil for about 1-2 minutes, just enough to blonde the garlic. Then I sit it off the heat while my pasta finishes. Really, it is that easy.

About this time, the water should be rolling boiling. Add your pasta.
If you are using the pasta I use, about 7-8 minutes is all it needs to be al dente (to the teeth). Set the timer, if I forget to set the timer, I always overcook.
Oh, and you do not want the be able to throw the pasta on the wall and make it stick. Some people do that in America. I don't know why, but they do. Trust me... it is better right before it is completely soft. Al Dente!!! I PROMISE!!! ;)

(As simple as this process is, I am just trying to give tips to enhance the wonderfulness of the tastes that you are about to enjoy.)
When you drain your pasta be sure not to rinse it. It washes off the natural stuff that makes the sauce really stick to your pasta.
Just drain it and throw it back into the pan you made your sauce in.

Turn your flame to med heat and toss it all together a few times.

Put it on your plate and top with Grana Padano (or parmesan if you prefer) and Enjoy!!!

This is really one of those wonderful rustic Italian dishes that you just can't get enough of!!!


  1. This is Joe's favorite dish. Thanks for the tips. Now he's seen this, he wants it tonight!

  2. Love this! I just made mine last night with a very similar technique. I like to add a little chopped parsley to the oil once it is off the stove. Mmmm. And you're right--DO NOT overcook the garlic or it will turn bitter. I don't put cheese on mine, and I make sure there's plenty of fresh bread to collect the leftover spicy oil in the bowl. Yummy! Last night we had this with roasted zucchini spears as a contorno. :-) --Trena

  3. Ohhhh! Great to hear Robyn! It is so easy to make! I am telling you... I could eat it everyday!