Garlic Noodles

Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil (Aglio E Olio) from Cook’s Illustrated Italian Favorites

 1 pound spaghetti or noodles of your choice

Table salt

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

20 medium garlic cloves from 1-2 heads, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about ¼ cup)

¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes

3-4 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon

1 ounce grated Parmesan, about ½ cup (optional)

Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof serving bowl on rack and heat oven to 200 degrees.  Bring 4 quarts water to boil, covered in large Dutch oven or stockpot.  Add spaghetti and 1 ½ teaspoons salt to boiling water, stir to separate pasta, cover and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta.

While water is heating, combine 3 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt or sea salt flakes in heavy-bottomed nonstick 10-inch skillet; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 10 to 12 minutes.  Off heat, add remaining tablespoon of garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water to skillet and stir well to keep garlic from clumping.

Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining reserved pasta water and toss to coat.  Add garlic mixture and ¾ teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes to pasta; toss well to combine.  Serve immediately, sprinkling individual bowls with Parmesan, if desired.

Recipe notes:  I chop half the garlic with a knife and mince the rest with a garlic press, so there are varying size pieces.  The recipe recommends sprinkling toasted bread crumbs over the pasta, which I think would be excellent (extra carbs!), but I haven’t had any on hand when preparing this.