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Pasta al’olio con Aglio e Pepperoncini
Makes 4 servings. Total prep/cook time: 20 minutes
16 oz spaghetti
4 large garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
2–3 pepperoncini (dried)
½ cup of olive oil
1 tsp of fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp of salt (for pasta water and to add to the taste of the finished dish)
Serve with grilled chicken, shrimp, or broiled fish with Italian seasoning for needed protein.
Finely chop garlic and two whole crushed pepperoncini (add a third one for more picante heat).
Boil water for pasta. Add a teaspoon of salt when the water begins boiling.
In a separate skillet or sauce pan, while the pasta is cooking, sauté the garlic and pepperoncini in the olive oil over low to medium heat until the garlic is lightly golden brown. I usually start this when the pasta al dente is about half done because the garlic browns quickly (takes no more than 5 minutes to sauté the garlic, so time it right). Don’t over sauté the garlic in the oil – it burns quickly and will change the taste of the dish. If the garlic browns before the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat and move it aside until the pasta is ready.
Cook the pasta “al dente”—which literally translated means “at tooth”—in English, “not overcooked.” Test a strand of cooking spaghetti by biting it in half with my teeth. The pasta needs to be cooked, but not more firm than limp or too soggy. If there’s a faint white center to the pasta when it is bitten in half, that’s usually about right.
Take one or two cups of the pasta water and place it to the side before straining the pasta. When the pasta has been strained, add it to the skillet with the olive/garlic/pepperoncini oil and toss it. Thoroughly cut the pasta with the oil. Add salt to taste.
Add chopped parsley and grated parmesan lightly on top for slight taste and aesthetics. Make the rest of the parmesan cheese available on the table as a condiment your guests can add according to their individual tastes.
Serve hot and fresh with garlic toast and a green salad or asparagus. Add grilled chicken, shrimp, or broiled fish for protein.
If it dries out, add some of the pasta water that you held out to the side before straining. When storing leftovers in the fridge, I like to add the pasta water to keep it moist.