SPAGHETTINI AIO E OIO (Roman garlic and oil sauce, for four)

“The secret to this dish is perfectly golden garlic.  Pale garlic won’t crisp properly while cooling, whereas overcooked garlic will be bitter.”  Gourmet Magazine

about 1-½ heads garlic, separated into cloves (about 30)

5-½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

1 pound spaghettini

1-½ teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


1.  Peel garlic without crushing cloves and thinly slice lengthwise as evenly as possible (you should have about 1 cup; peel and slice more if necessary.)  Cook garlic in 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until just golden, 7 to 10 minutes.  Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to a bowl.  (Garlic will crisp as it cools.)  Add hot pepper flakes to skillet and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then remove skillet from heat.

2.  Meanwhile, cook spaghettini in a 6 to 8 quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente (usually 8 minutes after the water returns to a boil).  Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

3.  Stir zest and salt into oil in the skillet, then add spaghettini, parsley and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water.  Toss over moderately high heat until combined well, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Adding enough reserved cooking water to keep spaghettini moist.  Add half garlic and toss.

4.  Remove from heat and toss pasta with remaining 1-½ tablespoons oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining garlic

from Gourmet Magazine, September, 2004      

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