August 4, 2006

An Oily But a Goodie

Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil

My mother used to make a version of this quite often for me back in the day. And I made a really bad version of it when, after college, I pretty much lived by myself for a year, made very little money, and realized I couldn’t eat out for every meal. I typically cooked the garlic until it resembled little bits of crushed rock. My advice: don’t do that.

Over the last year I’ve rediscovered this easy pasta dish and seem to always have a hankering for it. If you search this on the Web, you’ll see many variations. Some have other herbs, some used dried chilies. I’m embarrassed to admit that I first added anchovies based on a Rachel Ray recipe. So thanks, Rachel. Even though you’re really annoying, you do come in handy now and then.

  • 1/3 cup or so of olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced or finely chopped
  • 1 tbs of chopped, fresh oregano
  • 3-6 anchovy fillets (from a tin of anchovies packed in olive oil)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ lb of spaghetti

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti.

When the spaghetti seems about halfway to al dente, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat for a minute or two. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook the garlic for just a minute or two and then add the anchovies (if, like me, you’re not an anchovy fan, keep it at 3; if you like ‘em, add as many as you like) and stir for a few minutes until the anchovies are pretty much disintegrated. DON”T FORGET ABOUT THE SPAGHETTI.

Pull the oil and garlic from the heat. Add the strained spaghetti to the pan, add the oregano, salt and pepper, and a little parmesan. Toss and serve.

Mix things up a bit: Add some chopped tomatoes, especially at this time of year when you can get excellent tomatoes from the farm market or your own garden. Or, skip the parmesan and add some lemon zest instead. Not too much, but a nice sprinkling over top is really good. Haven’t tried it, but I would bet some grilled shrimp on top would be pretty good.

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