Spaghetti in Garlic & Oil

This is one of my all time favorite recipes. I cook a version of it once a week every week. What makes this recipe so special is how unassuming and versatile it is. Don't have cherry tomatoes? No problem, use some tomato paste. Have some spare celery lying around? Beautiful, add some thinly sliced celery in place of the tomatoes. Feeling a little under the weather? Add some hearty greens like Tuscan Kale or Swiss Chard and Parsley for an antioxidant bombshell. The best part is watching your guests eyes get wide as this simple bowl of pasta blows and overwhelms their taste buds with the salty, spicy, oily broth topped with the funkiness of quality Pecorino and the texture of freshly toasted breadcrumbs. To truly impress, whip it up in 20 minutes after a long night of drinking with friends to reduce the inevitable hangover and prepare yourself for the equally inevitable flood of compliments.

 

Ingredients
12 cloves of garlic (sliced)
3 cups of cherry tomatoes (about 20 sliced in half)
1 teaspoon of dried whole chili peppers (finely chopped)
1 lb. spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly grated pecorino romano
Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions
Step 1
Rinse tomatoes and slice in half. Take garlic, slice thin and finely chop the chili peppers. Fill a pot with water and light the burner to high. Salt the water (crucial). Once the water starts to boil add the pasta.

Step 2
Place a wide shallow pan on the stove and light the burner. Adjust the heat to medium high and fill with extra virgin olive oil (about ½ inch). Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and chili peppers. Sauté for about 2-5 minutes or until garlic starts to brown. Add the cherry tomatoes and lightly toss. Take a ladle of pasta water and add it to garlic, tomatoes and oil to make a pan sauce.

Step 3
Make sure to pull spaghetti while it is slightly under cooked. It will finish cooking in the sauce. Toss spaghetti with the garlic, oil and tomato sauce to let spaghetti finish cooking (Al Dente is the only way).

Step 4
Serve Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil in a pasta bowl. Garnish with toasted breadcrumbs (see notes) and freshly grated pecorino romano

Notes
Spaghetti cooked Al Dente is a must! Mix breadcrumbs and extra virgin olive oil and lightly toast, to make a garnish that will add even more flavor to this dish.