Classic simplicity is just that, and when done right,  it can result in some of the most amazing dishes.  Nothing is more simple than Spaghetti con Aglio e Olio;  yes, as with many Italian classics, each person, in every home,  probably varies things slightly.  However, with this particular dish,  I’ve not come across much variation. 

~ Not counting the pasta and the oil,  here’s what you need.  I’ve seen the dish prepared with or without anchovy and with or without parsley.  I’ve also seen hot cherry peppers included ~

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

1 pound spaghetti
1 salt packed anchovy filet chopped
4 cloves garlic sliced thin 
1 sprig parsley, leaves removed and chopped
1/3 Cup of your finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (see below)
Crushed red pepper to taste (or hot cherry peppers to taste)

The olive oil and the garlic are the key components in this dish.  If you’re going to use some cheap oil from Tunisia, or an olive that’s so “light” that it’s practically devoid of color,  stop reading and make something else.  For this recipe, you need first cold pressed, fragrant Italian extra virgin olive oil.  Period.  
Boil the water for the pasta and season with salt.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Meanwhile start the condimento by slicing the garlic as thin as you can get it. So thin, that it almost evaporates when it hits the oil.  Add the crushed red pepper  and the anchovy and cook over medium heat until the garlic starts to brown.  Do not burn the garlic.  Once browned, remove the pan from the heat.

~ This is the oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and anchovy off the heat.  Note the color of the garlic and the fact that you can’t even notice the anchovy ~

When the pasta is just a minute or so short of al dente, drain to the pan with the oil and return to the heat.  You can reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water in case the sauce is too “tight”.   Add the parsley and stir through, allowing the pasta to absorb and be coated by the sauce while it finishes cooking. 

~ This is the pasta finishing in the sauce.  Note how it glistens from the oil.  That’s what you want. You do not want the pasta to be sitting in pools of olive oil ~

Finally, serve on warmed plates and pass pecorino at the table.  Delizioso!

~ The Chef’s Plate ~

If you like, you can drizzle your dish with a bit more olive oil – I did.   This dish comes together quickly and is delicious.  You can adjust the heat to your tastes.  What to drink?  We had a wine from one of the newest DOC regions you’ve probably never heard of:  Roma DOC.   A white blend from Fontana Candida that will be reviewed separately in the near future.  It made for a gorgeous pairing. 

~ Fontana Candida’s Roma DOC Biano:  Crisp & delicious with the simple pasta ~


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