Let me start this post off with my excitement of what this Thursday will bring.  It’s my Q&A day with Ina Garten!! I still need your help with a few questions to ask her – I’ll be sure to credit you in my write-up should I choose one of your questions.  I know from your comments that a lot of you are big fans so tell me what you’d ask her if you had the chance to chat with her. I need to hear back from you in the comments of this post by 5pm Eastern Wednesday August 18th…so fire away!

And now for this week’s new Ina recipe from How Easy Is That?…

Weeknight meals don’t get any easier than this spaghetti with garlic and olive oil dish!  The dish itself is one that I’ve been eating for most of my life which I talked about a few years ago, but the recipe is a new one for me.  And when I came across this classic in How Easy Is That?, I knew it was one that would soon make an appearance for dinner.  Ina doesn’t call for the roasted shrimp in the recipe but the spaghetti really needs some protein and since we’ve been roasting a lot of shrimp around here (more recipes soon), I decided to throw some in.  My parents traditionally served aglio e olio, as we simply called it (and pronounced it as ahhlyuh-oy-yuh), with Italian sausages or pork chops but you could serve just about any type of protein such as chicken or clams.

We both really enjoyed this meal though I probably would have loved it more if it had been hot when I ate it.  The life of a food blogger.  For such simple ingredients, the flavors really stood out and I was happy to see how this recipe didn’t include any butter, as my parents’ traditional recipe does.  You can bet we’ll be eating this again and I hope you’ll give it a try too!

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Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
source: Ina Garten, How Easy Is That?

Kosher salt
1 lb dried spaghetti (Ina recommends: DeCecco)
1/3 cup good olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.  Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the pasta, such as a 12-inch saute pan or a large, shallow pot.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just begins to turn golden on the edges – don’t overcook it!  Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.  Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.

Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss.  Off the heat, add the parsley and Parmesan cheese and toss well.  Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed.  Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra Parmesan on the side.

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