Because it's unplanned, a spaghettata di mezzanotte is all about working with what you have: make pasta and toss with what's handy, whether it's garlic, oil, pepper flakes, parmesan, or anchovies.
1 pound dried spaghetti, such as DeCecco
⅓ cup good extravirgin olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup pasta water (reserved from cooking pasta)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the pasta, such as a 12-inch saute pan or a large, shallow pot. Add the garlic (optional mushrooms)and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just begins to turn golden on the edges-don't overcook it! Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water and wine to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, (optional peas) and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third. Add the drained pasta (optional chicken and tomatoes) to the garlic sauce and toss. Off the heat, add the parsley and parmesan and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra Parmesan on the side.