Spaghetti 101: Bachelor Pad Pasta
My brother, Brian asked me to publish some pasta recipes that he really likes. Brian has just moved into his new condo in Downtown Chicago and now has to cook for himself. He's threatening to live on ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese like he did in college, so I'm a little concerned and hoping these recipes will help. Anyway, he loves pasta, especially the three dishes I'll explain this week: PASTA AGLIO OLIO PEPPERONCINO, FETTUCCINE ALFREDO and PASTA ALLA CARBONARA.
I have to say that when asked what their favorite dish is, most Italians I know will answer, “pasta asciutta” which literally translates as, “dried pasta” what they really mean is, pasta with very little sauce on it. Italians consider “pasta aglio, olio, pepperoncino” to be the easiest dish they know.
*Two rules about pasta:
1. Boil the pasta in a LOT of water; for this dish, I would use at least 10 cups of water. If you use abundant water the pasta texture will be much better than if you cook the pasta in just enough. Try it and see.
2. Use a LOT of salt. The pasta water should be salty, that means for this dish, at least 3 tablespoons of salt added to the water. Unsalted water leads to bland pasta. Somehow no matter how much salt you add to the dish at the end, if you didn't salt the water enough, when you bite into the pasta it'll still be bland.
The dish goes like this:
PASTA AGLIO, OLIO, PEPPERONCINO
1/2 package of very thin pasta, (ex. capelli di angeli, fedelini)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste
Serves 2 people or 1 Brian
Boil the pasta in abundant, salted water following package directions for cooking time. While the pasta is boiling, heat the oil in a medium frying pan, sauté the garlic for less than a minute, (do not let it brown), add the red pepper flakes. When the pasta is just al dente, drain it lightly (not too completely), and add it to the frying pan with a little bit of pasta water. The pasta will finish cooking in the pan. Stir the contents of the pan or flip the pan to combine everything. Salt to taste if necessary. Once the pasta water has evaporated, plate the pasta and serve immediately.
*You can make delicious variations on this dish by adding a bit of lemon juice, parmesan cheese, or dried oregano.