I needed a fast side dish for a dinner that we were having with some friends, but I was seriously stumped on what to bring. I had made Rocco's Grilled Chicken Parmigiano as a main item and some roasted asparagus as a veggie dish, but I was kinda stumped when it came to having a carb-y side to go with it. Due to our recent move, my pantry is not currently stocked as it normally is; so my resources that I have on hand are limited. I literally had a box of pasta and not much else. It was quite the quandary! It finally occurred to me that I could make the simple Italian recipe for Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil (or if you prefer the Italian name for it, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio). Sure enough, it was a perfect accompaniment to the chicken and asparagus. I am so glad I was able to pull the idea for this delicious pasta dish out of my hat...just in time for dinner!
Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil
1 box of spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
salt for pasta water
1/2 cup of olive oil
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
reserved pasta water (optional)
1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 cup of fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
Generously salt a large pot of boiling water. When water is boiling, cook and drain the spaghetti according to package directions and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high-heat until it's shimmering and hot. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan. Saute for 1-2 minutes, or until garlic becomes fragrant but not browned. Add cooked spaghetti and a splash of pasta water. Toss to coat and remove from heat.
Add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil and toss again to distribute evenly. Serve immediately.
This is a fantastic side dish! So easy and flavorful.