Since I’m reasonably sure that Dr. Oz is not following my blog (at least not yet), I’m going to share with you Phyllis Diller’s recipe for garlic spaghetti. It’s amazingly simple and unbelievably delicious — full of carbohydrates and fat! (Ohh, Dr. Oz is starting to sweat and pant … he’s either about to have a heart attack or an … Oops! Never mind.)
Here’s the recipe: Butter. Chopped garlic. Cooked pasta.
There you go. That’s it.
Phyllis made this for me the first time I was on the road with her. We were in Pittsburgh and she had just finished a live radio talk show. People had called in, Phyllis had chatted and laughed, and the DJ had kept it all going with a flurry of chatter and fun little questions. Then, just as the show was wrapping up, a man called and asked to speak to Miss Diller. When she responded, he said, “I just want you to know, I’m going to kill you.” All those cliches you’ve heard all your life? That’s when I found out they are accurate. The hair on my arms did stand on end. You could have heard a pin drop. Everything seemed like it was happening in slow-motion. They are all true.
We high-tailed it out of there, were delivered to the door of her Pittsburgh apartment by taxi, rode the elevator in crushing silence and race-walked down the empty hallway to her door. I slammed and locked it behind us. Phyllis spoke for the first time: “I’m going to cook dinner.”
Phyllis’s method was to chop a ton of garlic — a ton. Then she sauteed it in butter and when it was sufficiently brown, she poured it over the cooked spaghetti which she’d seasoned with salt and pepper. Couldn’t be simpler. Or more delicious.
I have refined it slightly, sauteeing the garlic in olive oil first so that it doesn’t burn, then adding the butter and heating it until it is brown. (Hint: “melted butter is butter. Brown butter’s a sauce.”) I eat it with wine — you almost have to since it is so unbelievably rich. Tonight I had a lovely white blend open and it worked great — enough crisp Chenin Blanc to cut through the fat and enough Viognier for smoothness and flavor.
If you ever see garlic spaghetti on the menu at a restaurant, read carefully. They do theirs in olive oil. It may be extra-virgin, imported Italian, A-One, Top of the Line olive oil, but it’s still oil. You want the real thing? Do it Phyllis’s way — butter, baby. Quarter pound of butter, a ton of garlic and fresh ground sea-salt. You can hit the gym tomorrow, but tonight, Oh, baby!