by - 5:42 AM

This is the quintessential Italian pasta: just about everyone in Italy knows how to
make it and loves it. It is one of those magical dishes whose ingredients can be
pulled out of the cupboard and turned into a glorious meal in about 15 minutes. In
all its simplicity, or maybe because of its simplicity, it is a favorite of many, and
makes regular appearances at my table.
Salt for pasta pot and to taste
1 pound spaghettini or vermicelli
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Stir the spaghettini into the boiling
water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook, semi-covered, until the pasta is
tender but still very firm, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic, and cook, shaking the skillet, until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Remove
from the heat, and add the crushed hot red pepper. Ladle about 1½ cups of the pastacooking
water into the sauce; then add the parsley, the remaining olive oil, and salt to
taste, and bring to a boil.
Fish out the pasta with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into the sauce in the
skillet. Bring the sauce and pasta to a simmer, tossing to coat pasta with sauce. Cook
about 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat, and toss in the grated cheese if using.
Check the seasoning, adding salt and crushed red pepper if necessary. Serve
immediately in warm bowls.

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