Wednesday, September 08, 2004


This is the simplest recipe I can think of. So simple, I was suspicious the first time I tried it—how could something with so few ingredients have any taste at all? And while I won’t claim that this dish is full of bombastic bursts of flavor, it’s miraculously tasty enough that blandness-hating A not only likes it, but also specifically requested I make it last night (though he did demand plenty of pepper). This fine with me, as I’d just returned exhausted from Minnesota, no one had gone grocery shopping in two weeks, and it was well over 100 degrees. This may not be a showpiece recipe, but it’s a perfect sweltering-weather/bare-cupboards/feeling-lazy recipe. And if cold pasta turns you off (it’s not my favorite thing, either)? Room temperature is good enough. Either way, serve it with a green salad, so you get your vegetables.

2 tablespoons salt
1 pound spaghetti
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
black pepper to taste<

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of salt and the spaghetti.

2. While the water heats, put 1 tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When it's warm, add the garlic and sauté it until it barely begins to color. Remove it from the heat, stir in the parsley, and then season with salt and pepper.

3. When the pasta is cooked until al dente, remove ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water and then drain the rest. Run cold water over the pasta until it's cool.

4. Place the pasta in a large bowl and toss it with 3 more tablespoons of oil, the cooked garlic-parsley mixture, and 2 tablespoons pasta water. If the pasta still seems on the dry side, go ahead and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of pasta water. Season with salt and a lot of freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

5. The recipe says, “Chill for up to 2 hours before serving,” but it's OK to take "up to" at face value and dig in after 15 minutes, or, heck, right away.

Serves: 5-6
Time: 20-30 minutes, plus chilling time

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