Food Network chef JoAnn Cianciulli shares this light pasta dish from the MasterChef cookbook. In this timeless Italian peasant dish, hot pasta is tossed with lots of fresh garlic sautéed in fruity olive oil, seasoned with a little crushed red pepper, and finished off with a snowy blanket of sharp Parmesan cheese. Serve this dish with a mixed green salad, crusty bread, and your favourite light red wine. To switch things up, add sautéed zucchini, spinach, steamed broccoli, artichoke hearts, or your favourite grilled vegetables.
1 lb. dry linguine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Step 1: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add 2 tbsp salt. Add the linguine and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until al dente, tender but not mushy. Try to time it so that the garlic (below) is done when the pasta is ready.
Step 2: While the pasta cooks, place a large skillet over low heat and add the oil, garlic, 1 tsp salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for 3 minutes, or until the garlic softens and then becomes light golden. It is important not to let the garlic get too brown, as this will result in a bitter, unpleasant taste.
Step 3: Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking water. Add the pasta and the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, to the garlic mixture. Toss well to aerate the pasta, making the sauce slick and creamy. Sprinkle in the parsley, toss well to coat evenly, and season with salt and black pepper.
Step 4: Transfer the pasta to a large warm serving bowl or divide among four warm shallow bowls. Pass the grated cheese around the table for serving.