I grew up in an Italian family, practically raised on pasta. My mom cooked different types of spaghetti recipes from different family members plus favorites from family-owned restaurants. I learned, especially after visiting Italy, that the secret to perfect pasta is simple flavors without a lot of fuss. Dishes don't need to take hours; a beautiful pasta meal can be made in 20 minutes or less. This is a spin I created off the classic Aglio e Olio (Garlic and Oil) and is one of our go-to dinners in our household.
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
6 large cloves of garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon or more of crushed red pepper
2/3 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 pound thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
Boil the pasta according to package directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta.
In a large skillet, drizzle the pan with olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add the garlic cloves and crushed red pepper. Do not allow to brown; only cook for about one minute.
Add the peas and cook one minute more. Next add the pasta water to the pan and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Lastly, add the drained pasta and toss to coat. Allow to meld in the pan for one or two more minutes. Then remove from heat and serve.
Optional Toppings or Garnishes: Bacon (we use veggie bacon), additional crushed red pepper, a slice of lemon or a small sprinkle of Parmesan
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