There are some commonplace Italian pasta recipes that are so simple yet stunning that I'll find myself on a streak of making them two, three, six times a month.
Spaghetti cacio e pepe falls under this category. So do pasta carbonara and spaghetti aglio e olio. But after years of making these dishes, I didn't think there were many more minimalist pasta combinations to discover.
Then I stumbled upon my latest obsession while out on a dinner date at the Campania-centric Italian restaurant A 16, where I enjoyed a plate of linguine tossed with torn cavolo nero and dressed in a pungent elixir of Italian anchovy sauce, barely-cooked garlic, and spicy red pepper flakes. By the end of that weekend, I'd already come up with a version myself, using some of my latest pantry fixations.
Keep reading for a new favorite rustic pasta recipe.
Among them: A bottle of umami-licious Red Boat Fish Sauce . . .
. . . my go-to pasta, the organic linguine from Whole Foods . . .
. . . flavorful baby arugula from the farmers market. . .
. . . and lots of garlic and red pepper flakes.
The pasta takes all of 10 minutes to make, and it's salty, spicy, garlicky, and full of umami. The recipe below serves four, but you'll undoubtedly go back for seconds. Consider yourself warned!
12 ounces dried linguine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons fish sauce (recommended: Red Boat Fish Sauce)
1 large bunch (about 5 ounces) baby arugula
This pasta works well with other bitter greens, too. For a tougher leafy green, such as kale, sauté the vegetable for a few minutes longer, until just wilted. Don't be afraid of the fish sauce; it's what gives this pasta such a magnetic flavor.
- In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to box directions until one minute short of al dente. Drain thoroughly, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water for later use. Wipe out pot and set back on stove at medium heat.
- Heat olive oil until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add garlic slices and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 30 seconds, until garlic is slightly cooked but still pungent. Add in drained pasta, pasta water, fish sauce, and arugula; remove from heat and toss until greens are just incorporated and arugula is slightly wilted. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
- Main Dishes, Pasta