This Spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe with Roasted Garlic Sea Salt is my best attempt at documenting a recipe passed from Larry Dinolfo, a Italian Pizza shop owner and local legend in Dover, Ohio. He taught it to my mother, who taught it to me. But like all beloved chefs, he never measured a thing.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio simply means Spaghetti with garlic and oil. The internet is full of different ways for making this simple recipe, but almost none use the egg. Use the egg. It’s details like this that make a local chef a local legend. (Among his many other colorful traits.)
Larry would always invite us back into the kitchen while he cooked. It was small and chaotic: big pots of boiling water, sharp knives, skillets of sizzling olive oil, aged pepperoni sticks, and blasts of heat from the pizza oven. He sang or played the kazoo while he bounced between dishes, stirring and tasting with arms flailing. On slow nights, he would tell us stories about his immigrant parents’ speakeasy and the notorious gangsters who would come and go through the back door.
But enough reminiscing; let’s make “olio.”
Get a pot of boiling, salted water started.
In a skillet, add about ½ cup extra virgin olive oil. Mince 6-10 cloves of garlic and add it to the olive oil (or just use 3 Tbs of minced). Turn the heat on medium and let it infuse the oil. Don’t let the olive oil get too hot. If it is, just turn it off for a few minutes. Add about ½ lb of pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente. Strain. Put back in pot and cover (so it stays hot).
Add about 1 or 2 Tbs of red pepper flakes to your oil. Actually, take creative liberties here. Larry would also add mushrooms. I added sun-dried tomatoes this time. Anchovies are also a great addition, or artichokes. Turn the heat up to medium.
At some point in this process, Larry would regale us with a dirty joke that I was too young to get.
This next step needs to happen fast.
As soon as you can see little bubbles breaking the surface on the edge of the skillet, turn the heat off, add about a ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese, crack an egg over it, and whisk quickly. It will get creamy. Immediate pour it over the pasta.
Mix the sauce in with a pasta scoop. Add Fusion® Roasted Garlic Salt to taste. I usually add about 3 hearty, 2-finger pinches. (Larry taught my mother this recipe in the 80s, so SaltWorks wasn’t “born yet,” but I’m confident he would approve of our all-naturally infused garlic sea salt, as he was a fan of anything infused with real garlic.)
Oh yeah, and you should sing during the whole process. My sister and I were no older than 10, and he would always dramatically greet us with “Oh, what an angel face!” and then court us with the song Baby Face. Then he gave us candy—specifically, Twizzlers and those stretchy candy necklaces. (According to this youtube video, we weren’t the only ones. Meet Larry.)
- 1/2 lb pasta (about half the bag)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6-10 cloves of minced garlic or 3 Tbs
- 1 Tbs red chili pepper
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 3 big pinches roasted garlic salt to taste
- (Other nice, optional additions: mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies, artichokes, basil, parsley)
- Get of pot of boiling, salted water started.
- In a skillet, add about ½ cup extra virgin olive oil.
- Add about 5 cloves (or 3 Tbs) minced garlic to the olive oil
- Turn the heat to medium and let it infuse the oil for a few minutes.
- Turn the heat off to prevent scorching the garlic.
- Add about ½ lb of pasta to the boiling water.
- Cook until al dente. Strain. Put back in pot and cover (so it stays hot).
- Add about 1 or 2 Tbs of red pepper flakes to your oil. Take creative liberties here, and add other optional ingredients if you wish.
- Turn heat to Medium.
- As soon as you can see little bubbles breaking the surface on the edge of the skillet, turn the heat off.
- Add about a ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese to skillet (do not stir yet!)
- Immediately crack an egg over it, and whisk quickly. It will get creamy.
- Pour it over the pasta.
- Mix it in with a pasta scoop.
- Add Fusion® Roasted Garlic Salt to taste.
- This is a great recipe to adapt to your liking. My mom, sister and I have all been making it for years, and each of us make it differently, but all just as good.