Nothing can be simpler than this Sicilian classic. I was watching an old Molto Mario episode a few days ago and was inspired by the simplicity of this dish. He used spaghetti as it is the classic approach but all I had at the moment was leftover rigatoni so I had to use that instead. Also, he had the heat on high but I thought it better to sweat the garlic and everything else in low heat for a longer period of time. This way, the olive oil’s flavor doesn’t burn off and the garlic infuses its own to the max.
Just make sure your EVOO is top notch as it is the flavor base. Although, the real signature of this dish is the heat. So, you should put as much pepper flakes as you can tolerate. And the fresher your flakes are, the better the flavor.
I have to admit though, I’m not a big fan of arugula just by itself. However, it tastes very sophisticated mixed in with the whole thing. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. Although next time, I’d like to try mâche or spinach instead, since they’re milder. I’m sure they’ll be a great substitute.
1/2 lb. Pasta (tube or noodle)
4-6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds
1 tsp. Dried Oregano (thyme, basil or whatever you have will work)
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (more or less, depending on how spicy you want it)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
A couple handfuls of Baby Arugula
Cook pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, in a low-heated skillet, pour olive oil and sweat garlic, fennel seeds, oregano and pepper flakes for about 10 minutes or until garlic is light golden brown. Drain pasta water and combine pasta with oil mixture. Add in arugula and parmesan and mix thoroughly. Enjoy!