When asked for the detailed recipe behind his signature spaghetti with garlic and oil, chef Frank Prisinzano quips, "Method! There is no recipe!"
While Prisinzano knows the math and science behind all of his dishes, he isn't here to teach cooking by numbers. Rather, his aim is to equip his fans—both his restaurant regulars and his growing social media devotees (@FrankPrisinzano on both Snapchat and Instagram, @theunknownchef on Twitter)—with a skill set that will empower them to be confident and inventive in the kitchen.
Prisinzano refers to this dish as one of the "15-minute pastas," great for a late-night snack or when you're feeling sick and need some comfort food. He also considers it to be a key building block in the Italian kitchen. "Learning how to handle garlic and oil as a base for so many different types of pasta, creates a very powerful situation where you can do many, many things with simple ingredients," Prisinzano says.
And now, without further ado, the second-by-second method behind Frank's timeless Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil"—or Spaghetti Aglio E Olio, as they call it in the old country:
5 Pro Tips from Frank
• Never use pre-chopped garlic.
• Cut the garlic uniformly, and it will cook evenly. As Frank points out, garlic has a very dense cell structure, so you're going to want to cut it really fine in order for it to cook through.
• "You can never use too much oil," says Frank. "You can always take it out."
• The first two minutes of the cooking time is when pasta sticks, so that's when you have to keep it moving.
• Wait until the olive oil is hot enough that when you drop in the garlic, it immediately starts frying. Prisinzano suggests starting to cook the garlic in the olive oil about halfway—four or five minutes—into the cooking of the pasta. That way, the garlic and oil will be ready for the spaghetti when you pull it out of the water at the nine-minute mark.
- "When you're making something simple, every ingredient has to be good."
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Celtic Gray Sea Salt
For more cooking lessons like this, follow Frank Prisinzano at @frankprisinzano, where he shares his culinary wisdom, and takes you behind the scenes both in his kitchen, and at his restaurants.