Pasta Aglio e Olio (Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil)

from The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed

1 lb. spaghetti (or other pasta - as you can see, I used egg noodles here)
6 Tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1 small chili pepper
parsley, optional

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, following the directions on the packet to avoid overcooking.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and add the garlic (I have found that a lower temperature is better - I'd say go for medium-low heat).  This is either left whole and removed before serving or it is finely chopped and not removed (I take the second approach).  Add the chili pepper which has been cut into 3 or 4 pieces, cook until the garlic is golden brown.

The moment the pasta is ready, drain it and put into a large serving bowl.  Remove the chili and garlic (if left whole) from the oil and pour the sizzling oil over the pasta, stirring well.  There must be sufficient oil to coat every strand of pasta and make it slippery and shiny.  Add chopped parsley if desired and serve immediately.

Confession: I thought that I had posted this months ago, and then I went looking for it and realized I had been depriving you!  I am so sorry.  I'm trying to make amends though.

This is a quick and relatively easy meal that I literally threw together the other night in about 20 minutes.  The most challenging part (for me) is finely chopping garlic, but that's it!  Oh, the other part is explaining to people you might see after you eat a bowl full of this why you smell so garlicky delicious.

If you happen to have extras around - say, some grape tomatoes, chopped/cooked chicken, or olives - this sauce is very accomodating.  Of course, some would say it's not "aglio e olio" anymore when you add that, but I'll let you call it what you want.  It's that simple, though - heat garlic in oil, pour it on pasta, and stir it up.  Now you see why I needed to share this, right?

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