Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Submitted by Jesse Mulligan of Seven Sharp
This is the recipe Italians make to fill the gap after a big night out. When you get good and fast at it, I hope you’ll use it the same way:
Half a packet of dried pasta – dececco is best
2 tbps olive oil
1–2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tsp chili flakes
Pinch of Parmesan or grana padano
In a large pot bring water to a rapid boil – a litre of water for every 100g of pasta, and pour salt in until it tastes like seawater. When boiling, add the pasta and stir until it’s submerged.
It should start boiling again pretty quickly.
Put a heavy, big frypan over a low heat – you’re only trying to warm the oil, not get a sizzle on. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add your garlic.
So now, if the oil temperature is right, the garlic won’t sizzle, it’ll just sort of bubble softly – the idea is you’re getting all the flavour out without ruining the oil on too high a heat.
You only need a minute or two of this. Give it a sprinkle of salt at this point.
Add a teaspoon or so of dried chilli flakes. Give it another minute (you’re stirring it all around pretty much the whole time).
Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water and stir it in with the oil. This creates what I think is called an emulsion, and really helps with coating the pasta properly. It also stops you worrying about overcooking the garlic.
Timing: about the time this oil and garlic and chilli has done its magic, you want the pasta to be finished cooking. I’m not going to insult you by explaining what al dente is, but it is really important (to me at least) that you don’t overcook the spaghetti. You want to have to bite the pasta, not just suck it until it collapses.
Add some chopped Italian parsley.
Drain the pasta and stir it into the oil mixture.
When the distribution of chilli flakes and parsley specks are uniform, you know it’s stirred in properly. Serve topped with plenty of grated cheese.