Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

Sometimes simple is best. It’s cold outside, I’ve got Miles Davis floating out of my laptop (I know, I know, im a wanker) and I have to be up at 2.30am to go to work and bake 100+ loaves.  If ever there was a need for a fuss-free dinner, tonight’s the night. 

The inspiration for tonight’s dinner stems from Rachel Roddy’s fantastic book ‘Five Quarters – recipes and notes from a kitchen in Rome’. Rachel did what most of us dream of doing on a dreary English evening – upping sticks and moving to Rome. The book is therefore a story of her journey and some of the wonderful food she has eaten and continues to cook and eat. 

What’s most poignant about the book is its authenticity. These are recipes that Romans cook and eat. The real-deal. 

Italian food is based around the quality of your ingredients, and this recipe is that epitomised. Good quality pasta, dressed in aromatic garlic and chilli, sizzled in a little good quality extra virgin olive oil and served with handfuls of chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan. Pinch of salt, twist of pepper. That’s how Romans eat. 

For 1 easy dinner you’ll need:

  • 100g good quality dried spaghetti
  • 1 fat garlic clove 
  • 1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil 
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Handful of freshly grated Parmesan 

Get your pasta on. This should be cooked in a big pot of heavily salted water. I’d advise cooking it for 1 minute less than the packet instructions, it should be Al dente! 

After a few minutes chop your garlic and add to a frying pan with your oil and chilli. I like to bring it up to frying from cold, it’s much easier to keep control of your garlic that way. It burns very easily. If it’s ready early, put to one side. It should be cooled and ever so slightly golden, but not brown. 

When your pasta is ready, drain and get it straight into your frying pan to toss around in the luscious oil. Now add your Parmesan and parsley. Toss. Taste. Season. Devour. 

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