Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil
Would we be able to create a silky, creamy pasta dish without the added cheese?
Why This Recipe Works
The ingredient list for spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil) is a simple one. But versions we tried strayed from this dish’s humble roots. We wanted to create a creamy pasta according to the traditional method—without the addition of heavy cream or cheese, letting the pasta’s starches do the work of thickening the sauce for us. We started by lightly simmering equal parts garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan to soften the harshness of the garlic and to infuse the oil, waiting until the end to add pepper flakes to prevent burning. Reserving some of the cooking water before draining the pasta—which we removed just before it was fully cooked—allowed us to use the starchy water to create a silky sauce. We simply set the garlic oil, pasta water, and parcooked, drained pasta back overheat in the pasta cooking pot and stirred to create a full-bodied sauce while the pasta finished cooking through. As a final touch, we added 3tablespoons of parsley for color and vibrancy that melded cohesively with the other flavors.