East. Fast. Delicious. Perfect for weeknight meals. Spaghetti with sun-dried tomatoes and pecorino romano can be ready in less than 30 minutes. Or serve a smaller portion to start at a dinner party. Like they do in Italy. Primi and secondi. It’s a nice way to eat.
This is a riff on aglio e olio – the Neapolitan classic pasta with garlic and olive oil. It’s lighter on the garlic, adds a bright note with the sun-dried tomatoes and swaps out the cheese for pecorino romano. Basil replaces parsley to complement the tomatoes. But it’s just as simple. Just as pure. Just as good.
- 1 clove garlic, very thinly sliced
- ¼ cup good quality olive oil
- 6-8 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, sliced lengthwise
- ½ cup grated pecorino romano plus a bit more to sprinkle
- 3-4 leaves fresh basil, julienned or torn into small pieces by hand
- crushed red chilies and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 8 oz spaghetti, cooked in well salted water
- Put a pot of well salted water on to boil. Well salted means it tastes like the sea. Don't be scared. The salt goes down the drain.
- Cook the pasta according to the directions, but under cook by about 30 seconds. While the pasta cooks you can start the rest of the dish. Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Place the olive oil and garlic in a cold skillet over low heat. Cook gently for about 5 minutes. You want to infuse the oil with garlic. You don't want it to burn. If it does, start again.
- Toss in the sun-dried tomatoes and stir to spread the tomatoes over the full surface of the pan.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet along with a good pinch of chili flakes and toss to combine. Add the pasta water and increase the heat. Cook until the water is gone - about one minute.
- Stir in the pecorino romano.
- Serve, topped with a bit more pecorino romano, black pepper and more crushed chilies if you like a little extra zing.