For a twist on pasta with garlic and oil, try sprinkling toasted fresh bread crumbs over individual bowls, but prepare them before proceeding with the pasta recipe. We like the crunch of Maldon sea salt flakes for this dish, but ordinary table salt is fine as well. Given the large amount of garlic in this recipe, you may want to mince it in a food processor. A garlic press or chef’s knife are other options.
Salt (see note)
1 pound spaghetti
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic (about 30 small, 20 medium, 10 large, or 5 extra-large cloves) from 1 or 2 heads
3/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof serving bowl on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water, stir to separate noodles, and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta.
2. While water is heating, combine 3 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in heavy-bottomed nonstick 10-inch skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 10 to 12 minutes. Off heat, add remaining tablespoon raw garlic along with hot red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water and stir well to keep garlic from clumping.
3. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining reserved pasta cooking water and toss to coat. Add garlic mixture and
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