The other day I was contemplating what we would have for dinner when I found a nearly full box of angel hair pasta in the cupboard. I decided to wing a simple pasta sauce, and it turned out better than expected.
This isn’t strictly traditional, but when you taste it, you won’t care. I decided to make a version of “Aglio Olio e Peperoncino,” or garlic, oil and peppers. I also ripped off the idea of adding some toasted garlic bread crumbs from Bon Appétit for a little added texture.
If you don’t like garlic or spice, this isn’t the dish for you. Since I was winging it initially, I made it a little too spicy. You can add more red pepper flakes than I suggest, but be forewarned, this could be in your future:
This is perfect for a quick weeknight meal or weekend gathering with friends. Try pairing it with a Valpolicella Ripasso from Italy or a Beaujolais from France.
- ¾ box angel hair pasta
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
- 1 cup pasta water
- 2 tablespoons salted butter (you can used unsalted, but what is this? The Great Depression?)
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Parmesan or pecorino cheese to taste
For the bread crumbs:
- About 2 cups of stale bread, without crusts
- 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For bread crumbs:
- Tear bread into small pieces and let sit out or toast in oven slightly (350 for about 10 minutes), so they’re nice and crusty.
- Roughly chop garlic.
- Put bread and garlic into food processor and pulse until you get fine bread crumbs.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pan, add breadcrumbs and garlic and cook until golden brown. It should take about five minutes.
- Reserve and add to pasta later.
- Bring pot of heavily salted water (should taste like sea water) to a boil and add pasta.
- Cook until pasta is al dente and drain.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Don’t turn up the heat any higher or you risk burning the garlic, which means you have to start over…
- Add garlic to the olive oil and cook for about a minute. The garlic should brown a little but, again, don’t burn it.
- Add pepper flakes to oil and cook for another minute to infuse the oil.
- Add pasta water, lemon juice, white wine, butter and pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid reduces by about half. It will take a few minutes. You can turn the heat to medium-high if you're impatient.
- Add drained pasta to the pan and toss to coat noodles.
- Add bread crumbs, parsley and cheese (a handful or two will do) to pan and toss again.