Monday, January 7, 2013

Light Stunt: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

One of my goals in 2013 will be to start a monthly series where I publish a dish suitable for weeknight dinners: quick but flavorful. (Think Rachael Ray, only not as easy on the eyes but better food) I'll call it Light Stunts.

To kick off this series, my original plan for this dish was to film me preparing it during halftime of the NFC Divisional playoff game this upcoming Saturday, which is a span of 12 minutes. I was going to start halftime with my salted pasta water at a rolling boil and a completed mise en place, with the challenge to serve the dish by the start of the third quarter. This was going to be a dry run, so I didn't take pictures along the way.

I saw this dish in Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking, and again in America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Third Edition. So when I was thumbing through Lidia's Favorite Recipes by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianicn Manuali, it finally sunk in that this dish is a staple in Italy, but why hadn't this dish become more familiar to Americans?

The Challenge

Successfully complete a dish from start to finish during halftime of an NFL game.

The Source

Adapted from page 52 of Lidia's Favorite Recipes by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali.


Kosher salt, to taste
1 pound spaghetti
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring frequently until the pasta is tender but still very firm, about 6 minutes.

2. While the pasta is boiling, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the red pepper flakes. Add about 1 1/2 cups boiling pasta water into the sauce, then the parsley, remaining olive oil and salt to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil.

3. When the pasta has cooked, drain. Then add to the sauce in the skillet, bringing to a simmer and tossing to coat the pasta with the sauce, cooking for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and toss the pasta with the grated cheese. Taste and add salt and/or red pepper to taste, if necessary. Serve immediately in warmed bowls.


As I plated the dish, I noticed my stopwatch. I had started once I dropped my pasta in the water and started to heat my olive oil in my skillet which reported approximately 19 minutes. From this standpoint, I was not successful. However, my mise en place took ten minutes to complete so it would be perfect for a weeknight because it can be easily prepared within an hour.

As I sautéed my garlic, Mrs. Stuntman came into the kitchen asking what smelled so good. We were pleasantly surprised because the simple preparation of the dish yielded incredible flavor. This leads me back to my original question: Why aren't American's more familiar with this dish?


  1. Oh man, FSM - this looks so good I can't get over it! Seriously, this is right up my alley but my daughter would go nuts over it. She loves "naked pasta" as she calls it which means pasta with no sauce. I can't wait to try it!! Pinning.

  2. I do own a couple of Lidia's cookbooks and always love her recipes. They always turn out to be absolutely delicious ;)


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