Feeling encouraged, I told her I'll work harder on the 15-minute theme. So it got me thinking: how can I reduce cooking time? Can I possibly put a meal on the table faster than 15 minutes? And I have not forgotten my promise to my schoolmate D who asked for a simple aglio olio pasta a while ago.
So again, think "multi-tasking" and let's see how many minutes this one adds up to.
Get the kettle boiling. Get your ingredients and chopping board ready by the stove. Set up one pot with the pasta and salt, and a sauté pan drizzled with olive oil. Give as much garlic as desired a good whack, chop as crazily as you want but mind your hands. Sweep it all over the oil. Idea: garlic press.
Water boils. Pour it in the pasta pot, light the stove to keep the boil rolling. Set your timer to 1.5 minutes. Heat up the pan to sauté the garlic in oil. If the garlic starts to brown, reduce the heat to its minimum.
Timer beeps. Turn off heat for the pasta pot. Use thongs to transfer the pasta over to the pan. Turn up the heat to moderate if you had previously reduced it. Pour some of that salty pasta water over as well. Salt and pepper as desired. Roughly chop up some fresh parsley, add it in, turn off the heat. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the pasta. Shake the pan and use the thongs to mix the pasta, parsley and juice evenly. Plate.
Ten minutes flat. But don't stress yourself out unless you're feeling 101% competitive. All I'm saying is that you can do this on a lazy day, or when miscommunication happens between you and the spouse, ie. you thought you guys were eating out but the beloved thought otherwise.
Pasta aglio e olio cannot get any more basic than it already is. But this is truly how the Italians like their pasta and pizza: simple yet flavoursome. Don't cut corners with the fresh parsley because the dried herb just won't work in this case. If you're feeling a little defiant, add some finely chopped deseeded red chili over the pasta. And depending on how much of a purist you are, there is also the possibility of some grated cheese at the table.