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If it’s pasta night at my house and I give the girls a choice, they will pick this recipe every single time. That’s how much they love it. The idea comes from the Naples classic, spaghetti aglio e olio, where noodles are cooked until al dente—tender but still firm to the bite—and then coated with garlic-infused olive oil. It might be served with no more than a shower of fresh parsley or a pinch of red pepper flakes. But for a complete vegetarian main, I like to sneak in a few of my favorite staples: yellow grape tomatoes, marinated artichoke hearts, and olives.
Key to this dish is excellent olive oil, which is only briefly warmed through—not quite cooked—to preserve its delicate flavor. Just as important: Don’t allow the garlic to brown as it warms in the oil, as that will bring an unwelcome bitterness to the dish. Keep this spaghetti dinner vegetarian or, if you like, toss in some cooked shrimp or grilled chicken at the end.
Olive Oil and Garlic Spaghetti with Artichokes and Olives
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions, until the spaghetti is al dente, 7 to 8 minutes.
- When the pasta is almost ready, heat about ½ cup of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Turn the heat to low, add the garlic and a pinch of salt, then cook for 10 seconds, stirring frequently, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add the parsley, tomatoes, and scallions and stir. Cook until just warmed through, about 30 seconds.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Pour the warmed olive oil sauce over the pasta, then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add the artichoke hearts, olives, feta, basil, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes (if using), and toss one more time.
- Transfer the spaghetti and sauce to serving bowls and add a little more basil to your liking. Serve immediately.
“The Mediterranean Dish” Copyright © 2022 by Suzy Karadsheh. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Caitlin Bensel. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.