Garlic (aglio) and oil (olio) are the two most essential building blocks of the most pasta sauces today. From arrabbiata to marinara, alle vongole to puttanesca, a pasta sauce is incomplete without a gentle start of cooking garlic in oil. Even the Pesto, which is known to be uncooked, has a base puree of garlic poised in oil. Though, the history has no evidence that the garlic and oil were ever the real garnishes for pasta, but today it seems that no pasta sauces are dare to be cooked without them.
With my focus back on Aglio e Olio, I would like to tell that garlic and oil are not only the two main components for the world of pasta sauces, but also create one of the most amazing pasta sauces when clubbed together. Aglio e Olio is one of the simplest creations of an Italian kitchen, when it comes to pasta or pasta sauces. You don’t even need to add cheese! It is so simple that if you have the garlic, oil, salt and spaghetti, you can cook the pasta right now.
When, I visited Italy last summer I tasted Aglio e Olio whipped pasta for the first time and trust me, I was amazed to know that such delicious pasta could have a super simple recipe. This pasta sauce is tremendously popular in Italy; in fact, most Italians get misty- eyed while talking about it. It is simply into their roots. But, despite of deep pasta obsession of many other countries like United States, it is not on their radar – which is obviously unfortunate!
How to make pasta with Aglio e Olio?
Making of any pasta couldn’t be easier…
- Gently cook chopped garlic in a pan with olive oil until it’s golden brown (Check some garlic peeling tricks to ease out your life)
- For a basic warm temperament you can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes (peperoncino) to it. No, it will not affect the base flavor
- While you sizzle the garlic, your pasta should be boiling in another pot of salt water (salt as per taste and water just to cover the pasta)
- Once the pasta boils, put it in the pan containing oil and garlic. Put the pasta water along
- Cook on high flame, continuously tossing and stirring, allowing emulsification of oil with starchy pasta water
- Do not reduce it too much to avoid the sauce to become too oily
- Drizzle of fresh olive oil is what you need at the end to return the uncooked flavor
- If you are a cheese lover like me, this is the right time to grade some cheese over the top, or I advice to taste the dish first, before you make any additions
And, you are ready to take a bite….. slurp slurp!
In case you enjoy only the gooey, cheesy pasta, try out Pasta Al Forno!