Topping your pasta with a delicious olive oil and garlic sauce makes the difference between a healthy, light dish and a heavy tomato-based entree that can cause heartburn. Garlic and olive oil tossed with pasta is traditional Southern Italian cuisine that pairs with ingredients such as fish, shellfish, chicken and vegetables for dishes like pasta primavera, shrimp scampi and linguini with clams. With the versatility of the sauce in mind, you can choose from a number of items to add to the dish for extra flavor and texture.
1. Bring 6 qt. of water and 2 tbsp. of salt to a boil in a tall pot on high heat. Boil 1 lb. of spaghetti, capellini or linguini pasta for about five minutes until reaching an al dente consistency of tender but firm.
2. Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 tbsp. of minced garlic and 2 tbsp. of red pepper flakes and saute for one minute.
3. Add precooked ingredients including chicken, shrimp, clams or vegetables such as onions, zucchini and eggplant. Stir the mixture with a spatula for one minute.
4. Drain the pasta in a colander and pour it into the skillet. Add 1/3 cup of pine nuts and 1 tbsp. of chopped basil leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Toss and saute the ingredients with tongs for one minute. Remove the olive oil and garlic pasta dish from the heat and toss it with 2 tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese.