What to Make When There’s Nothing to Make

In her last post, Deb of Smitten Kitchen put out a call to her readers, asking for their go-to meals.  This one, for me, is quite literally a go-to meal, as I will travel to this chain for my next bowl whenever the mood strikes.  It’s a ridiculously simple spaghetti aglio e olio that haunts my dreams.  The level of garlic is unrivaled.  And the other night I realized that there was absolutely no reason not to make it my go-to at-home dinner.  When do I not have spaghetti, garlic, red pepper flakes, cheese, and olive oil?  Answer: never.

aglio e olioAin’t she purty?

aglio e olio mealThis is one of those dishes that you do not need a recipe to make.  You barely need any ingredients, either.  If you’re comfortable in the kitchen, just add amounts that seem right to you.  If you’re still finding your kitchen footing, I’ll let you in on the amounts I love.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  While you’re waiting around, coat the bottom of a skillet with a thin layer of olive oil.  Once it’s hot, add several (3?) cloves of garlic, minced.  Saute over low heat, about 5 minutes, or until garlic browns.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Bring about 8 oz. pasta (about half a standard box) to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.  Toss with garlic mixture, and add more olive oil if necessary.  This pasta works best if each strand is glistening with the shine of oil.  Top, per usual, with mounds of cheese.

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