Super simple pasta that I call the “mother of all pasta dishes” since its garlic and oil base forms the foundation for countless other pasta sauces. It’s also the quintessential impromptu spaghettata. I’m sure all the Italians and Italo-Americans out there have grown up with this pasta, but I have always been surprised at how many non-Italians have never had it, or even heard of it.
The essential recipe is as follows:
IngredientsFor 4-6 servings (400g/14 oz) of pasta:3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed2-3 whole peperoncini (dried hot red peppers)Enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your skilletA few sprigs of fresh parsley, finely choppedSalt to taste
Put water on to boil for the pasta.
While the water is coming to a boil, sauté the garlic in the olive oil, along with the peperoncino, on low heat until the garlic is lightly golden brown, then turn off the heat. (Do not let the garlic burn, or it will turn bitter.) Add some chopped parsley at end (some people omit the parsley but I like the subtle flavor and color it adds).
When the water comes to a vigorous boil, salt very well and add your pasta—either spaghetti or linguine—and cook till al dente.
Drain and pour into a warmed bowl, then pour the oil and garlic mixture on top. Mix thorough, taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed, then serve and eat immediately. (You can add a few bits of chopped parsley on top for color.) In the alternative, you can add the pasta directly into the skillet where you’ve sautéed the garlic and hot pepper.
Via Mariano Pallottini