This marvelous dish from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street seems so simple, but one forkful and you will be gurgling with pleasure.
5 tablespoons butter, divided
8 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup dry white wine
12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil
grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese for serving
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, for another 15 or 20 seconds. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cook pasta in salted water for about 2 minutes less than recommended on the package. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water, then drain and set aside.
Put the skillet with garlic mixture over medium-high, stir in 1 1/2 cups of the reserved pasta water, and bring to a simmer. Add the drained pasta and toss. Cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.
Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon black pepper, the lemon juice and zest, and the parsley. Add more pasta water if needed for consistency. Serve with grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan.