I've recently been trying to step back a bit from meal planning. I have always been pretty rigid with my meal plans, but the problem with cooking 5-6 nights a week is that I'm left with unused ingredients, leftovers, and random food that never gets eaten. So I've started leaving 1-2 nights a week "free," and just throwing something together, eating a random assortment of leftovers, or creating a whole new dish from leftovers (like this Hawaiian BBQ Pork Pizza). I like doing this in part because it wastes less food, but it also allows me to get creative in the kitchen and make meals on the fly based on what I feel like eating.
Enter this pasta dish. Last Friday, I knew I wanted something comforting. I also felt like playing in the kitchen and making something fun, but I refused to make a trip to the grocery store. This pasta is perfect because it requires very few ingredients, and all the ingredients are things I almost always have on hand.
The original recipe calls for linguine, but since I didn't have any on hand (though I do have almost every other shape imaginable), I decided to make fresh pasta. For one thing, when a dish has so few ingredients, I think its important to use the best quality of each one that you can. Also, I just really like making fresh pasta. If you are scared or unsure, head over to Annie's Eats. She just posted a homemade pasta tutorial that is incredibly detailed and helpful.
Anyway, once my pasta was made, this dish comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta. And what's more, it is absolutely fantastic. Lemony and garlicky, with just a hint of spice. And the fresh pasta just put the whole thing over the top. As we were eating I just kept saying how much I loved it. You would never know that this was a last-minute desperation dinner. But its a great one to have in your arsenal for sure.
Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Lemon
adapted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook
- 6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 9 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice, divided
- kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 pound linguine, fettuccine, or spaghetti
- 4 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden but not browned, about 4 minutes. The garlic will become bitter if browned, so it should remain a deep golden color.
Stir in half the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the pasta. Cook until al dente, then drain.
Add the pasta to the skillet with the oil and garlic and mix well. Divide among individual serving bowls, and top with remaining lemon juice and the Parmesan. Serve immediately.