The ‘simple’, yet complicated ‘oil, garlic and chilli’ pasta recipe.

Seems easy to make, I mean what does it really take, the ingredients are in the name: garlic, oil, as many chilli peppers as you personally prefer, and a nice portion of spaghetti precisely cooked in the pot. So why is it that most of the time this pasta becomes inedible instead of drifting you to sleep? The first rule is that the pasta must be long, as in spaghetti or at most linguine,  short pasta doesn’t adhere to the preparation. 

How it’s made

First of all, an abundant amount of olive oil in an aluminum pan like the ones at a restaurant. You are not parsimonious, this part is fundamental and worth not skipping over. Turn the flame on low to start heating up the oil as slowly as possible and accurately peel as well as finely chop up a garlic clove, calculating more or less a clove per portion and increasing progressively, to be delicately heated within the oil without ever allowing it to fry! Add fresh, if available due to season, chopped up red chilli peppers or flakes and rigorously keeping the flame low to not burn the garlic. 

One thing and one thing only will save you from the trivial pasta ‘all’olio’: the reaction between the cooking time of the pasta and the salt in the pot. When you have perfectly salted walter and by that I mean a spoon full and nothing less, make sure the pasta is effectively ‘al dente and what that means is to drain the pasta at least a few minutes before the suggested cooking time. Pour the drained pasta into your pan with the garlic, oil and chilli peppers and slightly raise the flame. This pairing is done consciously by adding per portioned boiling water until the starch of the pasta embraces the spaghetti in a creamy texture! As this dish is naturally dry, this process will make you proud. This is how the classic recipe of spaghetti ‘aglio, oglio e peperoncino’ will be perfect. 

If you find the pieces of garlic annoying, an alternative method to the dish is by preparing the garlic beforehand. Leave two or three cloves of garlic infused in a little bottle of high quality extra virgin olive oil, you’ll need at least half a litre for the preparation and at least a few days. Remember to remove the green lining along the centre of the clove as it helps with digestions. When you are about to prepare the pasta, pour the aromatized oil in the pan and heat up at a low flame. The garlic scent will be there, and it will be great, however it will be different from the original recipe. 

Obviously such a simple preparation (at least by glance), this dish can be presented with various types of adjustments. In some cases parsley could be added, or an anchovy even if it does change the essence of the plate. Amongst the variations most appreciated is the addition of toasted breadcrumbs in the pan, that present a bit of crunchiness.

A dusting of lemon zest can be tried to add freshness and flavour as well. Overall, this pasta is an ideal base for working out fantasies and using up the condiments you have got in your fridge and combining them into the oil.