Here's my usual recipe as of late:
Fill a large pot of water and heat on the stove. When boiling, add the desired amount of pasta. The original recipe is written for a pound of spaghetti noodles, but I've found that I like fewer noodles so they're more covered in sauce. The shells in the photo, for example, are only a 12 ounce box. While waiting for the water to boil I usually start the garlic and crushed red pepper simmering in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. I like to put it over super low heat so that the garlic sweetens up and doesn't have too much of a bite to it.
When the pasta is about halfway through its cooking time I add the lemon juice, heavy cream, and a ladle of pasta water to the garlic pan. The original recipe calls for fresh lemon juice and zest, but the bottle of Italian Volcano Lemon Juice was such a steal at Costco that I've been using it exclusively--everything still tastes great. The sauce then needs to be brought to a bubble, and reduced to a simmer, to thicken up. I drain the pasta when it's done, then add the parmesan cheese to the sauce. Once the cheese is melted I dump the pasta noodles into my big, beautiful saute pan and stir everything to coat. And that's it--super simple. You could garnish with basil, but this isn't usually something I remember to have on hand.
Here's the ingredient breakdown:
12 to 16 ounces pasta
3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup (or a smidge more) lemon juice
1/2 to 3/4 heavy cream (depending how much parmesan is on hand)
1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
There aren't usually a significant amount of leftovers, as the whole pot of pasta gets scarfed down quite quickly. Then we do fun things, like play Scrabble. I'm not so good at strategizing on how to get the highest number of points, I'm usually more interested in using as many of my letters as possible. My roommate, on the other hand, is a Scrabble master, and almost always beats me. The other day she blocked a great, and high scoring, word I was going to put down, which made me...
Y'all better watch out--Mary's going to train me to be the next Scrabble Master!