There is an art to combining pasta with a sauce, and timing is everything. Start the garlic as soon as you have the pasta in the water, however, and everything will be ready at the same time. Don’t skip the pasta water; it makes all the difference between a creamy sauce that coats each strand and an oily, slippery one.
1 lb dried spaghetti
1 tsp kosher salt
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup minced fresh parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and 1 teaspoon salt, stir a few times to submerge and separate the strands. Cook until just tender to the bite (al dente), about 8 minutes (or according to package directions).
Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta well in a colander.
While the pasta is boiling, prepare the garlic: Add the oil to a deep sauté pan. Add the garlic and place the pan over medium-low heat. Let the garlic cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is crisp and light golden brown, 5–6 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the reserved pasta cooking water to the oil and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and simmer, until the liquid is reduced by about one third, about 5 minutes.
Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss together over medium heat until the pasta is evenly coated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmesan and parsley. Serve at once in a heated pasta bowl or individual pasta plates. Pass additional Parmesan on the side.
Recipe from Garlic: An Edible Biography
By Robin Cherry | Roost Books