The Easiest (& Yummiest) Pasta Ever

Photographed by Eric Helgas; Food Styled by Michelle Gatton.
This pasta is not just easy to make; it's fun to say. Pasta Aglio Olio (pronounced ah-lee-oh oh-lee-oh) is the ultimate quick, delicious dish. As a kid growing up in an Italian family, I was taught to make this pasta for myself. It's carried me through all of my life — childhood, college, and adulthood. Even now, after a long, tiring day, I can zombie-walk to my pantry and absentmindedly whip up a batch of aglio olio in almost no time.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio
Makes 6-8 servings.

Ingredients
1 lb dry spaghetti
2/3 cup good-quality olive oil
8-10 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 tsp salt for the pasta water
salt and pepper to taste
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Instructions
1. Fill a large pot or dutch oven 3/4 full with water, (about 4 quarts). Add the salt and bring to a boil.

2. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente, 9-11 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) over medium heat in a deep skillet. As soon as it starts to simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the garlic is a very light brown, about 8 minutes.

4. Drain, but do not rinse the pasta; you want a tiny bit of the pasta water in the sauce.

5. Remove the pan with the olive oil mixture from the heat and add the pasta to it. Stir in the parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper on top.
Photographed by Eric Helgas; Food Styled by Michelle Gatton.