This is one of the most simple, common sides in Italy. It is often said that this is the one dish that all Italian men know how to make. It takes only a few minutes and it is scaleable for large groups, making it an ideal side dish for any large get-together.
Adding anchovies or anchovy paste a minute before the garlic is a great addition for those that eat fish. If you do add anchovies, just reduce the salt a bit.
Prep time: 1/2 cocktail
8 ounces dry plain or whole wheat spaghetti
¼ cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced very thin
1-2 tsp red chili flakes
1 TBSP fresh minced Italian flat leaf parsley, basil, or oregano (optional)
½ tsp salt
Fresh grated, top-quality Parmesan (no canned or pre-grated cheese!)
Prepare the spaghetti.
As your spaghetti cooks, heat the olive oil over medium low heat in a small frying pan. Once warm, add the garlic and chili flakes and sauté, stirring frequently until the garlic turns a light golden-brown, but is not burned. Add the herbs and remove from heat.
Once the pasta is ready, drain and toss with the garlic oil or drizzle the oil on top of plated pasta. Top with parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.