Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti With Oil and Garlic

Editor's note: Starting today, Dinner Tonight will also appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays, rounding things out so you've got a quick and easy recipe to make every weeknight. Today also marks the Dinner Tonight debut of Blake Royer, who will be handling these Tuesday/Thursday recipes. Blake has written for us before, as part of the Paupered Chef team with Nick Kindelsperger—our MWF Dinner Tonight contributor. OK. Enough. You're hungry. Without further ado, here's your recipe... —Adam

I'm especially fond of pasta recipes so simple, they leave you twiddling your thumbs waiting for the water to boil. Pasta might be my favorite thing to cook for a weekday dinner: It adapts easily to cooking for one, it’s cheap, and it’s a serious comfort food that leaves you far happier with yourself than if you’d ordered pizza. So when I was flipping through Cucina Rustica by Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman, this title caught my eye: Spaghetti With Oil and Garlic. Talk about out-of-the-pantry dinner.

This recipe takes pasta minimalism to an extreme: There will be no complaints about oversaucing. Yet the result is greater than the sum of its parts—a combination so carefully simple it makes you wonder if life itself is too complicated. And, as if the grand total of seven ingredients (including salt) wasn't already spare enough, the authors say that the addition of lemon juice, "strictly speaking, isn’t necessary." I wouldn't agree—it provides a nice acidic foil to the garlicky olive oil and, along with chopped parsley, brightens the dish. But I suppose if your pantry is especially sad and lacking, you could still pull this off without the lemon. Just make sure you cook your pasta perfectly al dente.

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