Simply put: I love garlic. I’ll watch Michael pull together dinner and he’ll have oh, two or three cloves of garlic ready to chop; I automatically peel him at least one or two more to amp the garlicky flavor. So it should come as no surprise that I found the idea of a dressing that was just olive oil, pepper flakes and garlic highly appealing when I was leafing through our copy of Henry Hill’s Cooking on the Run quite a while ago, and since then I’ve been working on an adaptation that goes lighter on the oil and heavier on the garlic. For this recipe I usually use about 2 tbsp per person–adjust to your tastes.
Aglio, Olio e Pepperoncini
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 6-7 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp-1 tsp of crushed red pepper (note: I used a whole teaspoon in the photos, and there was a lot of heat–not so much that it was inedible, but tread carefully here!)
- 1/2 pound dried pasta (I used orechiette because it’s a fun shape and tosses easily, but the classic would be to use a long pasta)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions (but try to err on the lower end of the time spectrum), drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil on medium heat in a skillet and then add garlic. Once the garlic is added, you have to be vigilant in ensuring it does not burn–toss in the olive oil to coat and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add red pepper flakes, cook for another 30 seconds to a minute–once the garlic becomes fragrant, take it off of the burner and add pasta to the oil mixture; toss to coat and then season with salt and pepper. Toss again; remove to serving dishes and add grated cheese to taste.