Quick Garlic Pasta with Olive Oil and Parmesan is a beautiful reminder that I don’t need nearly the number of things to be happy as I allow myself to believe. From four main ingredients—fresh garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, and spaghetti noodles—we can create an extraordinarily flavorful dish, lacking in nothing and satisfying everything our pasta-loving hearts desire.
Sharing in a tiny (550 square feet) apartment with another human being has taught me simplicity. For every new purchase that comes home, something else must be given away. Long gone are the days of holding onto old things “just in case.” As much as I would love to treat myself a Madeleine pan or popsicle mold or adorable cake stands in assorted sizes, I must be honest with myself about the fact that our lone closet is already bursting with winter coats, laundry detergent, and wrapping paper. The vacuum cleaner? Forget it—that beast sits out in the open.
I often fall for the easy logic that more is more. Why own one good black dress when you can have two, or a single set of wine glasses where there’s space for three? Confession time: I’m the guilty proprietor of five pairs of boots, my greatest shopping weakness (so long as we’re not counting salted caramels and cheese.)
The same more is more logic can be applied to cooking—isn’t a dish with more ingredients inherently better than a dish with fewer? Quick Garlic Pasta with Olive Oil and Parmesan heartily disagrees, and I am betting my last salted caramel that, after just one bite, you will disagree too.
Quick Garlic Pasta with Olive Oil and Parmesan is my final installment in this month’s Quick and Easy Recipe Series. My personal twist on the classic Italian spaghetti aglio e olio or “midnight spaghetti,” Quick Garlic Pasta with Olive Oil and Parmesan transforms four simple ingredients into a robustly flavored, satisfying dish. It simultaneously bursts with flavor and celebrates simplicity.
The trick to this pasta’s speed and its rich flavor is quick roasted garlic. I adore roasted garlic but seldom have the patience to wait the full hour it takes to soften and caramelize in the oven when roasted whole. My trick: peel and separate the cloves, toss them with a bit of olive oil, pop them in a high-heat oven and, boom! Lovely, rich roasted garlic, ready in 15 minutes flat.
From here, we now need our other to flavor factors: extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan. Choose wisely here. Because Quick Garlic Pasta with Olive Oil and Parmesan has so few ingredients, each one is important. I love the freshness and fruitiness of California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and I grate my Parmesan straight off the block—this is no place for the stuff in the green can. I purchased the least expensive Parmesan at Trader Joe’s, grated up the whole shebang in the food processor, then transferred it to an airtight container where it will keep in the fridge months (not that we’ll be waiting that long). When handled this way, the price difference between “green can” Parmesan and real Parmesan is minimal and the quality difference is exponential, even if like me, you purchase the store brand.
Let’s count: Good olive oil, roasted garlic, Parmesan, and pasta noodles. What else in life could we need? (Besides five pairs of boots that is.)
I have loved creating every single one of these Quick and Easy Recipes. This collection of simple, flavorful dishes is the proof that you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to enjoy a gourmet meal. Check ‘em out to add some easy luxury to your weeknight menu:
- Eggplant Ricotta Grilled Cheese
- Black Bean Beef Burgers with Blue Cheese and Onion Marmalade
- Mushroom and Sundried Tomato Quesadillas
- Quick Garlic Pasta with Olive Oil and Parmesan