1 pound dried pasta
3 small cloves garlic, chopped (or 3 frozen cubes)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoons kosher salt
½-1 teaspoon fresh crushed black pepper (optional to use less)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (freshly grated is lovely- but these days you can even find pre- grated that is decent)
1/4 cup pasta water (this is water from the pot that you use to cook your pasta set aside)
Take a very large pot (about 8 quart size) and fill it 3 quarters of the way with water. Cover the pot and cook on a high flame until your water is boiling. Cook your pasta al dente according to the package’s directions.
While your pasta is cooking take a small sauté pan, and heat your olive oil, garlic, salt and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. Cook for 3 minutes on a low heat just until your garlic is sizzling and starting to toast- but not brown. You just want it to cook through. Shut off the flame and set it aside for a minute.
Take a tea cup, measuring cup or anything really and carefully scoop out some water from your boiling pasta pot (approximately ¼ cup). Set this aside.
When your pasta is ready, drain it into a colander and quickly return it right back to the pot. Pour over your garlic oil, ¼ cup of the pasta water and your cheese. Using a wooden spoon, spatula or spaghetti fork utensil thing (that I don’t know the name for) gently start mixing the pasta. Go slowly. No major rush. You don’t want the pasta to break. Small pasta like penne is easier to maneuver if you are looking for something foolproof.
Once it is thoroughly mixed I like to taste for seasoning and I add extra salt (sometimes) and extra pepper (always) for good measure. Transfer the pasta to your serving dish and sprinkle some extra parmesan on top for a pretty presentation.
I like this pasta best on the day that I make it. If you need to re-warm for serving, then just put a low flame back on the pot and mix every minute over a 6-7 minute period.
While it is BEST on the day you make it, it is still very, very good the next day. I re-warm it in a covered ovenproof dish at a low temperature (about 175-200 degrees) for about 45 minutes. In this case, it is best not to use a long pasta like spaghetti or linguini- keep to something short.
PS- Below is a short video I made so you can see just how quickly this dish can be put together while you are balancing other things in your life. Pay attention the background conversation!