Spaghetti Aglio Olio was my grandmother's favorite pasta dish. She often made it at home, and she always ordered it in the local Italian restaurant she and my grandfather patronized. Whenever I make and eat this dish, I think of her. It seems almost silly to provide a recipe for this Roman dish. The ingredient list is small and, as far as the cooking goes, I find that the method is pretty intuitive. However, I have experimented with a few techniques and tweaks.
Most recipes for aglio e olio have you heat the oil in a pan and then add the garlic to the hot oil. However, with this method, if you don't keep a vigilant eye on the garlic, the small bits are inclined to burn easily. What I like to do instead is to start the olive oil and garlic in a cold pan. Then I turn on the heat very low. As the oil warms up, the garlic flavors the oil and releases its own oils. When the oil starts to bubble, the garlic cooks slowly, almost poaching in the oil. I find I only need to watch the garlic with an eagle eye at the end of the cooking time, and, using this method, the dish is almost impossible to burn.
This recipe can be prepared quickly, pretty much with pantry ingredients, making it ideal for weeknight dinners or those evenings when I don't have many groceries on hand but need to get dinner on the table quickly. It's also a good choice for those evenings when you have unexpected guests and want to whip up a quick dinner without running to the market. The only specialty ingredients are the cheese, the olive oil and possibly the bacon. But only two slices of bacon are used, just enough to flavor the breadcrumbs, making this dish easy on the wallet. I use extra virgin olive oil from the grocery store when making this dish, which works fine and also isn't too pricey. —cookinginvictoria
This dish is mad, bad and dangerous to know. And I mean that in a good way. Keats possibly supped on this along with his pal Shelly on the night before he passed away in Rome. I’ve made this many times before as a hardcore “Romanista.” As a tester, for the bacon I used locally made pancetta -- Italian bacon isn’t smoked and the recipe doesn’t specify so I took the old school route. This is easy to knock out for lunch or a light supper. It embodies what’s so grand about Roman cooking. —pierino