Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil
For success with this super-simple recipe, use top quality extra virgin olive oil and the freshest possible garlic. If you like a bit of a bite, include the cayenne pepper. Crush it on a board, using a paper towel to protect your hands.
To measure the spaghetti, the right amount for one person is a small fistful — or a large fistful for hearty eaters. Or you can weigh it on a scale: count 3 ounces (85 g.) per person.
As for the parsley, this is something I discovered relatively recently through a French woman who swore by it. I tried it and haven’t looked back. But of course basil would be a logical alternative, and you can also try cilantro or fresh dill.
I usually add parmesan before serving. Or you can add shrimp to the spaghetti, or chopped cherry tomatoes, as described below. The simplest version — with no cheese, perfect for vegans — is shown in the photo above.
2 handfuls spaghetti (about 6 ounces/170 g.)
1 tsp. sea salt or table salt
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or another herb
1 cayenne pepper, crushed (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
2-4 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
7 ounces (200 g.) fresh shrimp, heads and tails removed (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sea salt or table salt.
While waiting for the water to boil, peel and finely mince the garlic. Pour the olive oil into a large bowl. Add the garlic. If using crushed cayenne pepper, add it now. Add 1/4 tsp. salt and grind in some fresh pepper.
Finely chop the parsley and have it ready. Grate the parmesan cheese.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to the instructions on the packet, usually about 8 minutes. When the spaghetti curls up around itself , it is ready. Drain through a colander. Shake but do not rinse.
Pour the spaghetti into the bowl and toss with the oil and garlic. Add the fresh parsley and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
Top with parmesan and serve piping hot. Serves 2.
If using shrimp, fry briefly in a little olive oil while the spaghetti is cooking. Add at the end, just before serving. If using cherry tomatoes, rinse and chop in half. Add to the oil and garlic mixture before adding the spaghetti.