SPAGHETTI WITH GARLIC, Olive Oil, and Red Pepper Flakes
In Italy this dish is known as aglio, olio, e pepperoncino. It’s thoroughly easy, with just one secret: Reserve some pasta water to make the sauce. My version of this dish adds fresh herbs; I’ve found that this combination works wonderfully, but feel free to substitute oregano, thyme, marjoram, or whichever of your favorites are fresh; dried herbs don’t work in this recipe.
Bring a Large Pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring often, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Do not rinse the spaghetti with water; you want to retain the natural starches that help the sauce adhere to the spaghetti.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. It’s important not to overcook the garlic or else it will become bitter. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the garlic. Add the red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Carefully stir in the reserved cooking liquid and ½ teaspoon of salt. Immediately add the drained spaghetti and toss for 1 minute to coat well. Season with more salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the parsley, basil, and mint, and serve.