Spaghetti aglio e olio with red hot pepper is a tasty simple dish, easy and quick to make. It’s also cheap and affordable, with ingredients that we always have in the pantry: garlic, extra virgin olive oil and red pepper. It’s the dish that everyone appreciates and synonymous of conviviality.
Spaghetti aglio e olio is a pasta recipe born in Campania, a region in southern Italy. This recipe is a classic example of Italian cuisine that uses only a few simple ingredients. The protagonist is extra virgin olive oil, so make sure you choose one of excellent quality.
Spaghetti with garlic, oil and red hot pepper in Italy is a beloved dish that is often eaten for dinner or as an impromptu midnight snack with friends. Four quality ingredients, a few minutes of time and you get one of the most famous first courses of the Italian culinary tradition.
Spaghetti aglio e olio is a typical vegetarian dish of the Mediterranean diet, rich in flavor and healthy.
Simple, satisfying and fast, let’s see how to make spaghetti aglio e olio recipe.
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Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe
- 350 gr (12,5 0z) of spaghetti
- 2 cloves of garlic – you can add as many cloves of garlic as you like.
- 1 or 2 fresh red hot chilli peppers, depending on the size – Traditional spaghetti aglio e olio is made with fresh peperoncini piccanti (red hot chilli peppers), commonly found throughout Italy. Since they are more difficult to find in other countries, we suggest you use dried red hot chili pepper.
- 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil – It’s the main ingredient in this sauce so use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can find in your country.
- a handful of chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Some Informations about Italian Garlic
There are many varieties of garlic commonly grown in Italy. Some qualities are protected by protection consortia and Slow Food presidia such as white garlic from Polesano DOP, garlic from Vessalico or red from Nubia. White garlic is the most common, the best to keep fresh and the one with the most intense flavor and aroma. Pink garlic is very delicate in aroma and flavor, difficult to keep fresh and consumed especially when it’s new. Finally, red garlic has a strong flavor that turns towards spicy.
How much red hot chilli pepper
There are hundreds of varieties of red hot chili peppers all over the world. The dosage and taste is really subjective. In Italy the most used in recipes is the very spicy Calabrian red hot pepper. The dosage indicated in the recipe is to give the dish a not too spicy taste. If you like a very hot taste you can always add more chili pepper to taste.
How to Make Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino
Step 1) – Cook spaghetti in a large pot with salted boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked al dente. Follow the cooking time on the package (usually 8 to 12 minutes).
Step 2) – While the pasta is cooking, cut the two cloves of garlic in half, remove the core inside them to make the garlic more digestible and cut them into fine slices. If you like the aroma of garlic but don’t want to eat it, leave the cloves in half and remove them before serving.
Step 3) – Then take the red hot chilli peppers and cut them into fine slices. If you don’t want a too hot taste, cut them lengthwise and remove the seeds then slice them finely. Traditional spaghetti aglio e olio recipe is made with fresh hot peppers, commonly found throughout Italy. Since they are harder to find in some countries, dried hot peppers will do just fine.
Step 4) – Now in a pan heat 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add the garlic and fry it for about 2 minutes, making sure it does not burn (burnt garlic gives the dish a bitter and very strong taste). Add the red hot pepper and sauté for about 3 minutes.
Step 5) – Drain spaghetti al dente. Transfer them to the pan with the garlic and red pepper and sauté them over high heat to let them flavor.
Step 6) – Serve spaghetti aglio e olio really hot with a sprinkling of finely chopped fresh parsley.
Spaghetti aglio e olio is one of those dishes that you must eat as soon as it is ready and cooked. We do not recommend refrigeration and freezing.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Variants
There are many variants of this simple and classic recipe. Each region of Southern Italy has its own version of spaghetti aglio e olio which in the classic version are known and loved throughout Italy and all over the world. So let’s see some local Italian variations of this recipe
- In Puglia, they often add fresh cherry tomatoes to make the dish tastier.
- In Calabria, they add breadcrumbs and anchovy fillets: the anchovies melt together with the garlic and chili pepper dressing. The breadcrumbs are chopped and toasted in a pan. Then spaghetti is seasoned with all these ingredients.
- The Sicilian variant is called “pasta alla Carettiera” and involves the addition of toasted bread crumbs, dried tomatoes and capers.
- Some add grated pecorino Romano or Parmigiano before serving.
In short, there is no rule! You can add so many ingredients to this classic basic spaghetti aglio e olio, according to local uses, traditions and tastes.