Spaghetti “Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino” reipe
“Garlic, Oil and Chili Pepper” Spaghetti

    • Prep Time
    • Minutes
    • Cook Time
    • Minutes
    • Difficulty Level

Total Cost: UK/£ 2,24*

Cost/portion: UK/£ 0,75*

This is my very first post ever. And I couldn’t start with any recipe better than this: spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino.

This is one of the simplest and most genuine Italian dishes. It’s very cheap: ingredients are easy to buy in any supermarket, and they are always available in any Italian kitchen. It’s also commonly cooked as a concluding ritual for a nice homely party with friends: “spaghetti di mezzanotte” – midnight spaghetti – is something people hardly say no to in Italy.

Due to the simplicity of the recipe, I suggest using only good quality products: each flavour will be very distinctive and the cooking technique will enhance each one of them.

Utensils you will need

Utensils for the sauce

One chopping board

One paring knife

One tea towel

One sharp chef knife

One zester

One large frying pan

Utensils for the pasta

One 6-8lt saucepan

Cooking string

One small bowl [or a pasta server]

One ladle

One strainer [or a pasta server]

Two wooden spoons or silicon spatulas (if necessary)

Note for the users: please click on the label “HOW TO” to watch the slide-show of each cooking step.

*Please note that both total cost and cost per portion are approximate and that can vary according to seasons and to different conditions.

Recipe Rating

  • (7 Rating)

Ingredients

  • for the sauce

  • Peeled garlic clove - 1

  • Fresh parsley (both stalks and leaves*) - 20gr

  • Fresh Chili peppers - 2 (medium)

  • Extra virgin olive oil - 80gr

  • "Suited garlic” cloves - 2

  • Salt - a pinch

  • Cooking water - about 20ml or 25ml

  • for the pasta

  • Fresh parsley stalks* - 10gr

  • Water** - 5lt

  • Salt** - 50gr

  • Spaghetti - 240gr

  • * You will need a small bouquet of parsley and to separate the leaves from the stalks.
  • ** I you want to use less water (not less than 3lt - see the main note about boiling pasta) then you can reduce the salt to 30gr.

Instructions

  • 1.
    Frying the base of garlic and parsley.

    • Extra virgin olive oil - 80gr
    • Fresh parsley (both stalks and leaves) - 20gr
    • "Suited garlic” cloves - 2

      Thoroughly wash the parsley and dry it with the towel without making any pressure on it; keep a couple of stalks aside. With the remaining, separate the leaves from the stalks (step 1 - pic.A).
      Put the pan on low heat, add the extra virgin olive oil, the two cloves and the two or three parley stalks. Let it gently come to temperature for about 10 minutes (step 1 - pic.B).

  • 2.
    Boiling the water.

    • Fresh parsley stalks* - 20gr
    • Water** - 5lt

      Put the saucepan with the water on high heat. Make a ”bouquet garni” of the parsley stalks and add it to the water (step 2 - pic.A).
      The water will take from 18 to 20 minutes to get to a stable boiling.

      Note about salt and water for pasta

      If you think you might forget to salt water before adding pasta, you can salt water right after putting it on heat. This can become a safe routine, but the commonly unknown result of this is that it will require a longer time to come to the boiling temperature of 100ºC. It would be better instead to wait for the boiling to start and then carefully add the salt. The addiction of salt at this stage causes a sudden increase of the temperature of the solution for a couple of seconds during which the water increases the bubbling and risks to pour out if the pan’s sides are not sufficiently high.

      So the right pan should be taller than its diameter and capacious enough to contain a good amount of water.

      The minimum ratio between water and pasta is 1lt every 100gr. Although, for small amount of pasta it’s better to use a fairly large and deep pan which will keep the water to temperature also after dropping the pasta in. So that’s why I prefer to use 5lt of water even just to cook a single portion of pasta.

      Another important detail of which to take care, is the right quantity of salt to add to the water. It depends on the quantity of salt the condiment for pasta is going to contain and the cooking time that pasta requires; not only on your personal taste.

      A normal dose of salt is 11-12gr per litre of water and it can be increased to a maximum of 14-15gr for those who like their food to be particularly savoury. When using ingredients which are already salty themselves, like bacon or ham, the dose can be lowered to a minimum of 9-10gr per litre of water, as well as when you know that you will bind pasta with a lot of its own cooking water.

      Keep also in mind that longer cooking time requires smaller doses of salt whereas quicker cooking will need a larger dose.

  • 3.
    Preparing the garlic and the chili peppers.

    • Peeled garlic clove - 1
    • Fresh Chili peppers (medium) - 2

      With a paring knife, peel the garlic clove, cut it in half and take off the inner green germ (which would be difficult to digest) and leave aside (step 3 - pic.A).
      Cut the chili peppers longways and take off its seeds and membranes (step 3 - pic.B).
      With a sharp chef knife, cut the peppers into a quite thin chiffonade: slices need to be 2 to 3mm thick (step 3 - pic.C).

  • 4.
    Putting the pasta to boil.

    • Peeled garlic clove - 1
    • Fresh Chili peppers (medium) - 2

      As soon as the water starts boiling, add the 50gr of salt and after the boiling has settled again, drop the pasta (step 4 - pic.A).
      Stir frequently for the first few minutes to avoid the spaghetti sticking to the bottom or to each other.
      Spaghetti will take from 9 to 11 minutes to cook (check the timing on the packaging), but you will need to strain them out 2 or 3 minutes earlier. Keep a couple of ladles of the cooking liquor for later: you will use to moist the pasta while binding it to the sauce into the frying pan.

  • 5.
    Grating the garlic, mincing the parsley and frying the chili.

    • Peeled garlic clove - 1
    • Fresh parsley leaves
    • Julienned Chili peppers
    • Salt - a pinch

      While pasta is boiling, grate the garlic clove with a ultra-thin zester, collect its meat and keep aside (step 5 - pic.A).
      Then, finely mince the parsley leaves and put aside (step 5 - pic.B).
      Increase the hob’s power under the frying pan with the sauce setting it to medium. Add the chopped chili peppers, season with a pinch of salt, stir evenly and let it fry gently letting it lightly brown on the edges (step 5 - pic.C).
      Just a few seconds before straining the spaghetti, add the garlic meat and stir. It must not overcook: the cooking liquor you will add later on, will dissolve it into the sauce.

  • 6.
    Straining and binding the pasta.

    • The cooked spaghetti
    • The sauce in the frying pan
    • The minced parsley
    • Cooking liquor - from 70 to 90ml

      Seven or eight minutes have past since you dropped the spaghetti into water. They will not be ready yet and if you lift one strand with a fork, it will not drop and hang down as if it was perfectly cooked.
      Collect about 70 to 90ml of cooking water with a ladle and put aside in a small receptacle.
      Drain the pasta thoroughly with a strainer. Do not let it dry completely. The water that coasts the spaghetti will protect them from the thermic shock they will undergo when tossing in the frying pan. If you have a pasta server, instead, simply collect the pasta from the saucepan and drop it straight into the frying pan (step 6 - pic.A).
      Set the heat to a medium-high level; then immediately add all the spaghetti.
      Stir and toss quickly with two spoons then add one ladle of cooking water and keep tossing and stirring (step 6 - pic.B).
      The oil and the water will reduce quickly and cook the pasta, the starch of which - dissolved in the liquor - will thicken the sauce. Add another ladle if you think that the pasta needs to cook a little longer (step 6 - pic.C).
      If not, sprinkle the minced parsley evenly on top, add half of a ladle of cooking water again, then toss and stir for no longer than half a minute (step 6 - pic.D).
      Take out the parley stalks and serve immediately.

    Note about the correct cooking point "al dente”.

    ”Al dente” literally means ”to the tooth”. It indicates the perfect consistency that pasta, or any other food, should have at the end of the cooking process: not too soft and not too hard at chewing. Pasta cooked ”al dente” maintains a harder consistency at the centre of the dough sheet which gives the diners a pleasant feeling of ”biting” rather than ”mushing” something under their teeth.

    Note about binding pasta.

    As for rice, almost all recipes require pasta to be bound together with its sauce and tossed over heat. This allows the sauce to grab to the surface of pasta, whether it is smooth or lined or bronze wire-drawn, so that every forkful will have its perfect balance of flavors and textures. Otherwise, sauce would slip away while eating and you would end up with a good quantity of the sauce still on the bottom of the bowl.

    Another very good idea, even if not allowed by etiquette, is to eat pasta - any kind of pasta - with some nice fresh crusty bread. Bread’s starchy flavor enhances both the flavors of the sauce and the pasta dough itself.

Instructions

  • 1.
    Frying the base of garlic and parsley.

    • Extra virgin olive oil - 80gr
    • Fresh parsley (both stalks and leaves) - 20gr
    • "Suited garlic” cloves - 2

      Thoroughly wash the parsley and dry it with the towel without making any pressure on it; keep a couple of stalks aside. With the remaining, separate the leaves from the stalks (step 1 - pic.A).
      Put the pan on low heat, add the extra virgin olive oil, the two cloves and the two or three parley stalks. Let it gently come to temperature for about 10 minutes (step 1 - pic.B).

  • 2.
    Boiling the water.

    • Fresh parsley stalks* - 20gr
    • Water** - 5lt

      Put the saucepan with the water on high heat. Make a ”bouquet garni” of the parsley stalks and add it to the water (step 2 - pic.A).
      The water will take from 18 to 20 minutes to get to a stable boiling.

      Note about salt and water for pasta

      If you think you might forget to salt water before adding pasta, you can salt water right after putting it on heat. This can become a safe routine, but the commonly unknown result of this is that it will require a longer time to come to the boiling temperature of 100ºC. It would be better instead to wait for the boiling to start and then carefully add the salt. The addiction of salt at this stage causes a sudden increase of the temperature of the solution for a couple of seconds during which the water increases the bubbling and risks to pour out if the pan’s sides are not sufficiently high.

      So the right pan should be taller than its diameter and capacious enough to contain a good amount of water.

      The minimum ratio between water and pasta is 1lt every 100gr. Although, for small amount of pasta it’s better to use a fairly large and deep pan which will keep the water to temperature also after dropping the pasta in. So that’s why I prefer to use 5lt of water even just to cook a single portion of pasta.

      Another important detail of which to take care, is the right quantity of salt to add to the water. It depends on the quantity of salt the condiment for pasta is going to contain and the cooking time that pasta requires; not only on your personal taste.

      A normal dose of salt is 11-12gr per litre of water and it can be increased to a maximum of 14-15gr for those who like their food to be particularly savoury. When using ingredients which are already salty themselves, like bacon or ham, the dose can be lowered to a minimum of 9-10gr per litre of water, as well as when you know that you will bind pasta with a lot of its own cooking water.

      Keep also in mind that longer cooking time requires smaller doses of salt whereas quicker cooking will need a larger dose.

  • 3.
    Preparing the garlic and the chili peppers.

    • Peeled garlic clove - 1
    • Fresh Chili peppers (medium) - 2

      With a paring knife, peel the garlic clove, cut it in half and take off the inner green germ (which would be difficult to digest) and leave aside (step 3 - pic.A).
      Cut the chili peppers longways and take off its seeds and membranes (step 3 - pic.B).
      With a sharp chef knife, cut the peppers into a quite thin chiffonade: slices need to be 2 to 3mm thick (step 3 - pic.C).

  • 4.
    Putting the pasta to boil.

    • Peeled garlic clove - 1
    • Fresh Chili peppers (medium) - 2

      As soon as the water starts boiling, add the 50gr of salt and after the boiling has settled again, drop the pasta (step 4 - pic.A).
      Stir frequently for the first few minutes to avoid the spaghetti sticking to the bottom or to each other.
      Spaghetti will take from 9 to 11 minutes to cook (check the timing on the packaging), but you will need to strain them out 2 or 3 minutes earlier. Keep a couple of ladles of the cooking liquor for later: you will use to moist the pasta while binding it to the sauce into the frying pan.

  • 5.
    Grating the garlic, mincing the parsley and frying the chili.

    • Peeled garlic clove - 1
    • Fresh parsley leaves
    • Julienned Chili peppers
    • Salt - a pinch

      While pasta is boiling, grate the garlic clove with a ultra-thin zester, collect its meat and keep aside (step 5 - pic.A).
      Then, finely mince the parsley leaves and put aside (step 5 - pic.B).
      Increase the hob’s power under the frying pan with the sauce setting it to medium. Add the chopped chili peppers, season with a pinch of salt, stir evenly and let it fry gently letting it lightly brown on the edges (step 5 - pic.C).
      Just a few seconds before straining the spaghetti, add the garlic meat and stir. It must not overcook: the cooking liquor you will add later on, will dissolve it into the sauce.

  • 6.
    Straining and binding the pasta.

    • The cooked spaghetti
    • The sauce in the frying pan
    • The minced parsley
    • Cooking liquor - from 70 to 90ml

      Seven or eight minutes have past since you dropped the spaghetti into water. They will not be ready yet and if you lift one strand with a fork, it will not drop and hang down as if it was perfectly cooked.
      Collect about 70 to 90ml of cooking water with a ladle and put aside in a small receptacle.
      Drain the pasta thoroughly with a strainer. Do not let it dry completely. The water that coasts the spaghetti will protect them from the thermic shock they will undergo when tossing in the frying pan. If you have a pasta server, instead, simply collect the pasta from the saucepan and drop it straight into the frying pan (step 6 - pic.A).
      Set the heat to a medium-high level; then immediately add all the spaghetti.
      Stir and toss quickly with two spoons then add one ladle of cooking water and keep tossing and stirring (step 6 - pic.B).
      The oil and the water will reduce quickly and cook the pasta, the starch of which - dissolved in the liquor - will thicken the sauce. Add another ladle if you think that the pasta needs to cook a little longer (step 6 - pic.C).
      If not, sprinkle the minced parsley evenly on top, add half of a ladle of cooking water again, then toss and stir for no longer than half a minute (step 6 - pic.D).
      Take out the parley stalks and serve immediately.

    Note about the correct cooking point "al dente”.

    ”Al dente” literally means ”to the tooth”. It indicates the perfect consistency that pasta, or any other food, should have at the end of the cooking process: not too soft and not too hard at chewing. Pasta cooked ”al dente” maintains a harder consistency at the centre of the dough sheet which gives the diners a pleasant feeling of ”biting” rather than ”mushing” something under their teeth.

    Note about binding pasta.

    As for rice, almost all recipes require pasta to be bound together with its sauce and tossed over heat. This allows the sauce to grab to the surface of pasta, whether it is smooth or lined or bronze wire-drawn, so that every forkful will have its perfect balance of flavors and textures. Otherwise, sauce would slip away while eating and you would end up with a good quantity of the sauce still on the bottom of the bowl.

    Another very good idea, even if not allowed by etiquette, is to eat pasta - any kind of pasta - with some nice fresh crusty bread. Bread’s starchy flavor enhances both the flavors of the sauce and the pasta dough itself.

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