By Pati’s Mexican Table 

Pati has tons of fun in her kitchen creating a full menu featuring the perfect blend of Italian and Mexican cuisine. Two cuisines that aside from having a lot in common, have managed to mingle in Mexican homes for centuries.

Pasta con Guajillo y Ajo

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

– 1 pound thin spaghetti or vermicelli
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried and crumbled
– 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried and crumbled
– 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
– 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
– 5 guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
– Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste
– Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
– 1/2 cup freshly grated queso Cotija, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano, ricotta salata, or Pecorino Romano
– 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

DIRECTIONS

Bring salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and let it come to a boil again. Boil, uncovered, until pasta is al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.

In a large skillet or casserole, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once it is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Stir in the rosemary, oregano, thyme and marjoram, and cook for 30 to 40 seconds. Add the guajillo chiles and cook, continuing to stir, for another 20 to 30 seconds. You want them to gently brown, but not burn.

Add the pasta to the skillet and toss well. Pour in the reserved pasta water, toss and cook for another couple minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with freshly grated cheese and chopped parsley.

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