How to a Make a Light Pasta Side Dish


Angel hair pasta tossed with virgin olive oil, raw garlic, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt and pepper is a basic light side dish that has dozens of variations. Cooks rev up the recipe with cherry tomatoes and basil or chopped zucchini or even with lemon juice. Angel hair, which is a thin type of spaghetti, keeps the dish light while raw garlic gives it a fresh, tangy flavor. Not only does this recipe require very little time working over a stove, research shows raw garlic may lower blood pressure, fight heart disease, boost the immune system and possibility help prevent cancer.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 lb. angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
  • 8-qt. pot
  • Large bowl
  • Place the olive oil, chopped garlic, salt, pepper and grated cheese in a large bowl. Set aside.

  • Bring about 4 qt. of salted water to a boil and add the angel hair. Different brands of angel hair pasta require different cooking times, but most need four to five minutes maximum. Angel hair is famous for forming gooey clumps, so stay near the pot and stir the pasta frequently. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the water to help prevent the strands from sticking together.

  • Drain the cooked pasta and add immediately to the oil and other ingredients. Toss thoroughly. Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil if needed. Serve warm.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fresh cut tomatoes and chopped basil are among the most common ingredients to add to this recipe but almost any fresh vegetable works well. Combinations such as fresh peas and prosciutto add great flavor and texture to this basic dish.
  • Raw garlic has a more intense flavor than garlic that has been cooked into a recipe. Two cloves are a starting point, but cooks should adjust the amount depending on the amount of garlic flavor they prefer.

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  • Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
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