Brute Force Chef: Garlic & Olive Oil Spaghetti
(no lemon, no herbs, no nuts, no raisins, no cheese, no other spices)
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Get some good fresh garlic - one whole bulb is a good start. Don't get weak garlic,
"fresh breath" garlic, elephant garlic, or any other form of non-garlic. Preferably
American... Gilroy California. Chop up like this with a good chef knife. Don't smash it.
You don't want juice, you want nice chunks of garlic.
If you want to spend extra for first cold pressed olive oil, go right ahead. I grew up with this stuff
(Berio gold label) and to me that's what olive oil tastes like. I've tried XV oil, and it's ok but not
worth the extra $$. Also, cold pressed oil seems kind of moot when you're going to heat it to cook the
My favorite pasta for this is Barilla angel hair. Of course you should never overcook your pasta, leave
it in the water, or break it into pieces. But this is about making the garlic, not pasta cooking. Whatever
pasta you choose will work fine - garlic and olive oil are the dominant flavor here.
Which is what we're going to do, not just soak it. I kick the heat up to near-high for just long enough to
get the oil sizzling. I don't heat the oil before adding the garlic - both start out cold, together.
At some point I put an inch or so of cold water in the sink. We'll use this later.
Take the heat down to about medium low... or 3 on a scale of 10. Watch the garlic carefully - stir or
swirl frequently, to prevent hot spots. Having the garlic in irregular chunks doesn't seem to bother
it much, as long as it's reasonable.
I have never timed how long it takes - I just watch it very carefully.
This is what it should look like when it's just right - sort of a dark golden brown, crisp
on the outside. The problem is, by the time it looks like this, it's going to keep on
cooking even if you pull it off the burner due to the heat retained in the oil.
So to keep it from getting overdone or scorched, we dunk the bottom of the pan in the cold water,
which instantly cools it and stops the cooking.
Dump it into the spaghetti (which you hopefully remembered to cook) and toss. Serve immediately.
This isn't a steam-table special, or Tupperware leftover. If you can't eat all you made, and
you can't find anyone to help, pitch the remainder - it's cheap, and you can make more! I eat this stuff
with lots of salt sprinkled on the plate. I know it's bad for me, but so is 10+ ounces of pasta tossed
in oil - even if it's olive. That's why I only make it about once every 60 days.