olive oil
could also use drippings from pancetta if using
optional, sliced or cut into small pieces
5 cloves garlic
finely minced or passed through a garlic press
chopped fine into a paste
1 tbsp red pepper flake
or adjust to taste
pasta water
parmesan cheese
italian parsley
When a minor flood kicked us out of our home for about a week, this dish was part the first meal we made from start to finish after we moved back in. Our menu included iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese, bacon, tomato, marinated red onion, green onion, and italian parsley and aglio e olio: pasta with a garlic-parmesan base which we enhanced with bacon and fried Italian parsley. We of course served it with pinot grigio. Mortimer, we’re back! :)
Cook the pasta per package directions.
Balance the colander over a clean coffee mug to collect the pasta water, then drain pasta over it. Do not rinse the pasta. Wipe the inside of the pot dry with paper towels and return it to the stove.
Add olive oil to the now empty pasta pot, set heat to medium low. Brown the pancetta, if using, at this point.
Once the pancetta is browned or the oil is warmed, add in garlic, minced anchovies, and red pepper flake, constantly stirring for 1-2 minutes so that it doesn’t burn or stick.
Add the drained pasta back into the pot, then add just enough pasta water to lightly coat the pasta and the rest of the ingredients. Toss to combine.
Plate, then top with finely grated parmesan cheese and parsley. Enjoy immediately.
Pasta water is important. We have accidentally forgotten to reserve pasta water before, and this dish ends up somewhat sad and dry. The water along with the residual pasta starch helps gel all the flavors together and improves the texture.I’ve read that the kitchen sink is one of the germiest places in the home. When we drain pasta, I always place a bowl or coffee mug underneath the colander so that there is absolutely no contact with the sink. Sinks don’t like being shocked with lots of hot water at once, so draining pasta is usually a team effort for me and my husband. One will pour the pasta into the colander while the other balances the colander and runs cold water on the sink to mitigate the shock of all the hot water. We used to rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process, but we learned that warm pasta absorbs sauce better. For extra credit, fry pieces of parsley for the topping. You can do this in the same pot right before you add the garlic. Make sure that the parsley is completely dry when you throw it in. Bits of water will make the oil splatter up towards you.