Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil

At Italian restaurants they call this pasta aglio e olio, but no matter the name, it’s a quick and easy dish, great for a late-night supper when there’s really nothing in the pantry. If you’re lucky enough to have a loaf of bread or the ingredients for a Caesar salad, you have yourself a fine meal.

This sauce is most often served with spaghetti or linguini. You can add red pepper flakes, fresh hot peppers, crumbled bacon or prosciutto, grated lemon zest, toasted pine nuts and/or chopped fresh basil leaves, depending on your mood, your taste, and what you have lying around.

Serves 4 to 6.

1 pound spaghetti
¼ cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.

2. While the spaghetti is cooking, place a large skillet over medium low heat and when it is hot, add the oil. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes.

3. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the skillet. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and serve immediately, garnished with the Parmesan cheese.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)