In this book*, Rachael Ray claims that if she could knowingly choose her last meal, this pasta dish would be it. At first glance, that seems like an unlikely choice, mostly because it’s so unbelievably simple. I mean, if you could choose your last meal, knowing it was in fact your last meal, wouldn’t you want something terribly extravagant and luxurious? But then you taste this dish, and you get it.
It’s one of the more delicious pasta dishes I’ve ever tasted. Despite how much I love it, I don’t make it often, mostly for fear that I’ll eat the entire bowl in one sitting. It’s so simple but so beautiful. And as a bonus, it comes together uber-quickly so it’s perfect for a busy weeknight, and you probably already have all the ingredients on hand. I really cannot possibly over-emphasize its supreme taste. Just writing this post makes me want it again – soon!
*I do not, and probably never will, own this book or its predecessor. The idea of what your last meal would be is just too morbid for me. I suppose it’s somewhat interesting to think about in an abstract, passing sort of way, but having two volumes concretely dedicated to such an idea sitting on my bookshelf staring at me is a bit too much. No thank you.
Source: slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten
1 lb. dried spaghetti
1/3 cup olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of kosher salt and cook the pasta according to package directions. Set aside 1 ½ cups of the starchy pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, one that is large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, just until it’s fragrant – don’t overcook it! Add the pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Carefully add the reserved pasta water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add a teaspoon of salt, and simmer 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by a third.
Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss well. Shut off the heat, add the parsley and cheese and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra Parmesan on the side.