Oh boy. I’m in simple peasant heaven!! I can’t back this up with fact at the moment, but, legend has it this dish was created by the poor folks in Naples that could not afford clams! An authentic Neapolitan Aglio e Olio is essentially the same ingredients as “Linguine with Clam Sauce” (minus the clams & the clam sauce).
Yes, the dish has changed over the years. I’ve seen anchovy paste, grated cheese, and even chicken stock! Chicken stock is a pet peeve of mine. Some cooks just love to add it to everything. Why? In most cases it’s not even homemade but rather some high sodium concentrate that just cheapens the dish. With the proper cooking methods, techniques and seasoning you do not need chicken stock in most cases. I prefer my Aglio e Olio without cheese and anchovy as well. Especially if we are using homemade or fresh pasta. Which we are!!
I left out the homemade pasta recipe for now. The reason is I will be attending a pasta workshop this weekend and wanted to wait and see if I learn any new techniques or methods before I go ahead and post my own recipe. Fresh kinds of pasta are now available in most supermarkets. So if you really can’t wait to make this with fresh pasta pick up some at the market or grab a recipe online. Caution: If you have never made pasta before it can be frustrating the first few times. It’s only three ingredients but you have to have patience and experience for it to come out delicious. And just to be clear. This dish is delish with dried linguine as well. It’s just that for me, fresh pasta is simply the best!
So let’s begin . . .
This sauce is so quick that we are going to get a medium pot of water on the stove to boil as our first task. Fill it up about three-quarters of the way, salt it well, and put the flame on high. Cover if you want it to boil almost twice as fast.
Place a medium-size frying pan on the stove with no flame. Add the oil, garlic, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, and dried chili pepper flakes. Now, turn on medium heat. Once you see the garlic starting to sautee, toss the ingredients and turn down to low heat until the garlic starts to brown. Then, shut off the heat completely and let sit.
When the water has been boiling for a few minutes add the fresh linguine. If it’s a good quality pasta it will only take a few minutes to float to the top. Once it does it will start to create a foamy liquid on the surface. Using a flat ladle, skim a few spoonfuls of that foam off the top and add it to your warm oil. Stir up the oil with all the seasonings and foam in it and put the flame back on low.
Once your fresh pasta has risen to the top it will only need a couple of minutes more to cook. Remember, we are going for “al dente!” Strain your pasta in a colander by gently shaking it up and down until it’s nice and sticky and tacky on the surface. Crank up the heat on your oil and drop the pasta in the frying pan with all the other ingredients. Toss it for a minute or two letting it cook briefly with the rest of the ingredients. At the very end toss in fresh parsley, mix, and plate.
Serve immediately with some Italian bread to soak up the oily sauce at the end.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks for visiting my blog!
¾ Cup of high-quality extra virgin olive oil
5 smashed and flattened garlic cloves
*TIP: Place garlic clove under the flat side of a chef’s knife and gently tap to break off the skin. Now flatten completely by pressing down on chef knife that is being held sideways with skinned garlic clove underneath. Add to oil in this state. Do not chop. Traditionally a mortar and pestle is used but I like it this way.
1 lb of fresh or dry linguine
1 heaping teaspoon of dried chili pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
2 flat ladles of foamy pasta water