Aglio e Olio means garlic and oil in Italian, technically this dish is aglio olio e peperoncino, for the chili peppers and red pepper flakes also used. I've added some panko breadcrumbs with parsley for a little crunch, and although not traditional, we like Parmesan cheese on top.
This is one of the easiest pasta dishes to prepare, perfect for those nights you don't feel like cooking but are starving. I almost always have all the ingredients on hand, and it comes together quickly. You can easily modify this dish, use more or less garlic and peppers to your taste. We like things medium spicy around here, so that's what I made.
Pair it with a simple salad and garlic bread and dinner's on the table in minutes. Enjoy!
Adapted from Mario Batali's recipe found here:
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Step 1: Gather Ingredients
For the topping:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
For the sauce:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
8 garlic cloves, minced (or thinly sliced if you prefer)
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1/4 cup pickled chili peppers, finely chopped (I can my own hot peppers, you can use whatever you like or have on hand, in the quantity you desire; pickled cherry peppers, even pickled, or fresh, jalapenos work; Mario Batali uses 3/4 cup.)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta:
1 lb. long pasta (I used angel hair because it was here, I usually prefer spaghetti or linguine because they cook almost the same time as the sauce.)
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Step 2: Prep Ingredients
Melt 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add panko and pinch of salt and toast, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat, add the parsley and stir to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Mince the garlic, my medium-sized cloves amounted to roughly 1 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic.
Finely chop the peppers, keeping a bit of their pickling juice is a good thing.
Grate the Parmesan if you're using it.
Step 3: Start Sauce
Note: if you're using thicker pasta like spaghetti or linguine you should probably start cooking it at the same time, or a little before the sauce, since my angel hair pasta cooked in only 4 minutes, I started the sauce first.
Heat 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in a medium pan over low heat. Add the garlic, chili flakes, pickled peppers, and black pepper. Cook gently until the garlic softens and turns light golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Step 4: Cook Pasta, Combine With Sauce, Mangia!
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook angel hair pasta until al dente, about 4 minutes. (Follow package instructions.)
This is very important--before draining, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water. Drain pasta.
If at any point the garlic starts browning too much, toss in 1-2 tbsp. of the pasta water to slow down the cooking.
Return pasta to pot and add garlic and pepper mixture, 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water, and remaining 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil, toss to combine, if pasta looks dry, add remaining pasta water.
To serve, sprinkle with panko topping and Parmesan cheese, if using. Mangia and enjoy!
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