One of my favorite things to do is to create yummy dishes with things I have on hand. I decided to make this simple yet elegant recipe that you can make in a pinch with whatever you have!
Who doesn't like pasta, right?
This is super easy and you can use whatever you have in your fridge and pantry! For this recipe, I used pasta, parmesan, basil, prosciutto, garlic, and olive oil but you can add veggies like broccoli, asparagus, snow peas, mushrooms.... and proteins like shrimp, bacon, beans, chicken.... the list is endless! Don't forget you can use any type of pasta too!
Pantry Purge Aglio E Olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil)
1 box of spaghetti
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c chopped prosciutto
2 c parmesan
1 c pasta water
1 Tbsp of red pepper flakes
Fresh basil for garnish
black pepper to taste
salt to cook the pasta
Fill a heavy pot with water and salt it. Why do you have to salt it? Pasta absorbs flavor when cooking so now is the time to give it some salt for flavor and dimension. Bring water to a boil and add the pasta. Follow the directions on the box 2 minutes less than al dente.
Cooking tidbit----Why are we leaving it undercooked by 2 minutes?
Since pasta absorbs flavor when it is cooked, as I mentioned before, we are leaving it undercooked so it will absorb the flavors of the cheese, oil, and garlic and also because it will be cooking more in the pan. You don't want to cook it al dente in the water and then overcook it once you put it into the pan.
In a large frypan heat up the oil and add the prosciutto, cook, until crispy, remove prosciutto and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the garlic to the pan and lightly brown, add the red pepper flakes (please note I did not add the red pepper flakes at this point in the tutorial below, but this is where I should have added).
Use tongs to pull the pasta out of the water and move it directly in the pan (no worries if it is not drained) with the garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes, add the 1 cup parmesan and 1/2 c of pasta water, and mix. Add another 1/2c parmesan and 1/2 c of pasta water to make a creamy sauce. Serve and top with crispy prosciutto and fresh basil.
Cooking tidbit#2 If you are only cooking for 1 person you can do what I did and plate 2 servings (save 1 serving for lunch the next day) and take the rest of the cooked pasta, separate it into little bundles (kind of little birds nests) wrapping them individually, throwing them into a freezer bag. Freeze them, this way when you want pasta again just take one out, throw it in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and it will be ready, or defrost it and add it directly to your pan like you did in this recipe.