I have a very fond memory of my Italian cousin cooking this simple dish for me when I was in Italy when I was fourteen. I’ve tried to make it at various times and never managed to make it like she did. So I was pretty excited to try the America’s Test Kitchen version.
The instructions are pretty simple: cook lots and lots of garlic in olive oil over low heat for 10 minutes or so, add parsley, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, more oil, more garlic, and some pasta water. Toss with pasta. The trick is supposedly to cook the garlic low enough that it doesn’t get bitter and long enough that it mellows. It says to cook the garlic until it “foams” and is straw colored. Well I tried, but I never saw any evidence of foam. I’m not entirely sure what the hell it would have looked like had it foamed. It did get yellow-brown and as it was rapidly getting more brown, I pulled it. According to the recipe, fresh garlic is added to the cooked garlic to “brighten” the flavor.
Well, I liked it, although I don’t think the garlic mellowed enough. There was still a lot of heat in the garlic, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t need the raw garlic. It certainly wasn’t equal to my memory of the Aglio e Oglio I had in Italy. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t like it as much as I did. He said it had “too much garlic” (which previously he has said was a thing which didn’t exist) and was too much of one flavor. I tend to agree that it didn’t capture the “incredible depth of flavor” that the recipe promised. Unless that just means it’s really, really garlicky.
I forgot to get a picture, so just imagine some mini penne with lots of bits of garlic stuck to it and the occasional piece of fresh parsley. I may make this recipe again for myself, but not for dinner.