As Chef gets ready to roll in hundreds of theaters this weekend, we wanted to supply a warning: No one should go see F&W’s new favorite movie hungry or without a major snack supply. The food looks ridiculously good, and if its star, Jon Favreau, ever decides to stop being an actor/director/producer, I would suggest he set up shop behind a stove because he could be an F&W Best New Chef in real life (he plays one in the film). For example, there’s the cubano sandwiches, which are even more delicious than they look on screen: I know, because we ran the recipe in the May issue of the magazine.
But there’s another dish in the film that’s equally compelling: It’s a lusciously oily, garlicky pasta that Jon Favreau (Casper, in the film) makes for Scarlett Johansson (Molly) during a key seduction scene. Roy Choi, the Kogi BBQ mastermind, created all of the film’s recipes, and the pasta is one of them. Choi makes the dish (which he calls “transcendence through a handful of humble ingredients”) every Sunday night at home, and Favreau asked for it specifically for the film so Casper could impress Molly. “He knew it would get her where he wanted her,” says Choi.
CHEF’s Pasta Aglio e Olio (with Garlic and Oil)
1 pound dried spaghetti
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and black pepper
⅓ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the spaghetti, cooking until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving a little of the pasta water.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add the crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Add the drained spaghetti to the pan and toss, adding a little of the pasta water, until the spaghetti is thoroughly coated.
3. Remove the pan from heat, add the parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Check for flavor, adding more salt if necessary. Add the lemon juice, garnish with more Parmesan and serve with lemon wedges and crushed red pepper. —Roy Choi