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Benvenuti al Tutti!

Welcome to Luigi's Tastes of Italy

This blog is my small dedication to Italian cooking, and is abolutely 100% free of pretentiousness, complicated ingredients, or any effort to present Italian cuisine as anything other than it really is, very simple.

Hope you enjoy reading my posts and maybe trying out some of the recipes.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino (Garlic, Olive Oil and Chilli)

Being Italian, or simply just knowing about Italian food does have its advantages, one of the main ones in my opinion is knowing just how easy cooking can be, and understanding that you don't always need expensive ingredients, advanced skills, or masses of time to prepare something enjoyable.

A great example is the embarassingly easy to prepare, but simply delicious Spaghetti "Aglio e Olio", (pronounced "ally-E-o" -"eh" -"olly-Oh")  The dish is basically a combination of  pungent garlic, peppery olive oil, and chopped up dried Italian chilli (pepperoncini), all carried on strands of spaghetti pasta.

Despite consisting of so few ingredients, this spaghetti dish really does pack a flavour punch, and is something we make at home at least a few times a month.  It is just ideal for those occasions when you need something to eat in a hurry, but don't want to compromise on taste.  I recommend using a good quality spaghetti, something like a pasta produced by "La Molisana", the better quality does really shine, and certainly avoid the dreaded "quick cook" variety that some supermarkets stock.
One to thing mention though, is that if you don't cook the garlic long enough, you can risk producing a rather bland tasting meal.  This is one of the few occasions were I recommend taking the cooking of the garlic to the point of being nicely browned, almost (notice I say almost) to the point of being burned. In this case, the slight charring is most definitely a good thing and the difference in flavour to the finished dish, is immense.

(serves 2-3 persons)

-Dried Spaghetti (as a hint if you make an O shape with your index finger an thumb, as if to indicate OK, the amount of spaghetti that will fit through the hole, is generally enough for 2 persons).

- 2 or 3 fat cloves of garlic, chopped into a small dice.

- 1 or 2 medium size dried Italian red chilli (pepperoncini) chopped finely.  Normally you can get these from an Italian shop, but at a push, you could use a teaspoon of regular chilli flakes as a substitute, but careful as they can be a bit stronger.

- Good few glugs of Extra Virgin Olive oil. Remember to be generous, because this will act as the "sauce" to coat the spaghetti. Use your best judgement, but no less than 5 tablespoons for 2-3 persons is a good guide.

-Handful of flat leaf parsley chopped up coarsely (optional).

-Salt, and Pepper to season.


-Boil water in a deep sided saucepan on a high heat, when the water reaches a rolling boil, add some salt, and add the spaghetti carefully, allow it to slightly soften, then help ease the spaghetti into the water. As usual when cooking pasta, don't forget to stir it occasionally!

-While the spaghetti is cooking, lightly heat the olive oil in a generously sized frying pan, or wok, and add the garlic. Now to get some good flavour, make sure you colour the garlic, aim for a rich golden brown to medium brown colour.  When you get a good colour, throw in the chilli, and reduce the heat down to a very slow simmer.

-When the spaghetti is cooked, drain well, and pour the drained spaghetti into the frying pan, stir around and add the parsley (if using), season with salt and pepper, and serve.  If you wish you can top with some freshly grated parmesan.


Velva said...

This is a great weeknight meal idea! I have truly learned over the years that simple is best. This recipe looks really good.

Pam said...

Nice blog you the dishes!

Country Mum said...

Totally agree with your description on the sidebar. Easy and fresh cooking is so much better than resorting to packaged meals. If you read the ingredients and decode the numbers on the box you would be shocked!

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