This is a very easy recipe, though the one who actually cooks this at home is none other done my dear husband who is a huge fan of Barefoot Contessa's Ina Garten. He actually got this recipe from one of her shows and Ina Garten calls this Spaghetti Aglio E Olio or Spaghetti in Garlic and Olive Oil. Of course, DH made a twist and used Penne instead of Spaghetti. He also added black olives. It tastes so good, that our dear son has already requested this as part of his 1st-day-of-school pack-lunch. Hope you like it too, for now I need to check these Ice Cleats.
Penne Aglio E Olio
Kosher salt, to taste, plus 1 teaspoon
1 pound spaghetti
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 lemon, zested, optional
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional
Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat, then salt it generously. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally until al dente, tender but not mushy, about 8 minutes.
While the pasta cooks, combine the garlic, olive oil, the 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic softens and turns golden, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about a 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the reserved water to the garlic mixture. Mix well. Add the parsley and lemon zest (if using). Adjust seasoning, to taste. Transfer to a large serving bowl or divide amongst 4 to 6 dishes. Serve topped with grated cheese, if desired.