A pasta dish Italians won’t argue with ... and there’s a love story attached
Daily Dish: A quick, simple and flavour-packed spaghetti dish with garlic, chilli and olive oil
An Italian classic, spaghetti with garlic, chilli and olive oil.
So the story goes, this dish was born out of love for a chef’s daughter. A young man, let’s call him Fausto, wanted to win the heart of a chef’s daughter. To this end, wanting to gain favour, he asked permission to court her.
“It’s not me you need to impress, Simone is the one you’ll have to impress,” the chef said, handing him a dried chilli and a clove of garlic. The rest, as they say is history. After all what, self respecting Italian family doesn’t have pasta and olive oil?
For me, this is pure comfort food; but at a price. It demands nothing less than the very best ingredients, so use your very best olive oil and pasta and prepare yourself a real treat.
What you’ll need
A good handful of dried spaghetti
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Peperoncini (or dried chilli flakes)
3-4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
How to make it
1. You’ll need two large frying pans. Fill pan one with water and bring it to a gentle boil and add your pasta. Why such an unconditional shape of pan? Well, it ensures an even cook, and it’s what Nona Sylvaner told me to do
2. Pasta is on, so it’s sauce time. On a medium heat add the olive oil to the other pan. To this add the finely sliced garlic and cook very gently. Now, the peperoncini – how much is up to you. A pinch to make it worth while, but I like it this side of nuclear, so three for me, and continue to cook: slowly, lentamente.
3. Cook the pasta until al dente, about nine-10 minutes. Check by fishing out a piece and tasting, it should have a slight bite to it. None of that throw it against the wall and see if it sticks nonsense, just taste it.
4. Now for a secret ingredient. At this point give the pasta water a good stir, it should be cloudy with starch; your secret ingredient. Take a ladle of this water and add it to the sauce pan, turn up the heat, give it a good stir and reduce it down to emulsify the oil.
5. Now transfer the pasta into the sauce and toss with a few deft flicks of the wrist. If you have some, add a sprinkle of chopped flat leaf parsley and finish with salt and pepper and a drizzle of your olive oil.
Chris Carpenter is a UX Designer at The Irish Times