This classic Italian dish has found a permanent spot in Italian American cuisine. You can dress it with Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, or Grana Padano. And I guarantee that it’s a favorite for kids as well as moms. Why? Because it tastes delicious and requires very little clean up!
1 pound spaghettini or vermicelli
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon (or more to taste) crushed red pepper
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano
Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat. Stir the spaghettini into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, but still very firm, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, shaking the skillet and stirring, until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper.
Ladle about 1 ½ cups of the pasta cooking water into the sauce. Add the parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt to taste.
If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a simmer, tossing to coat with sauce. Cook until the pasta is coated with the sauce and done, about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and toss in the grated cheese, if using. Check the seasoning, adding salt and crushed red pepper if necessary. Serve immediately in warm bowls.
© 2010 Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, authors of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, coauthor of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipe, is the author of five previous books, four of them accompanied by nationally syndicated public television series. She is the owner of the New York City restaurant Felidia (among others), and she lectures on and demonstrates Italian cooking throughout the country. She lives on Long Island, and can be reached at her Web site, www.LidiasItaly.com.