Sometimes the simplest is just the best way of cooking and eating a dish. Elizabeth David, for example, was a great proponent of that style. And it is in the simplest of dishes that we train our palate, noticing slight nuanced differences in taste between, say, this olive oil with that pasta, or a different pasta. Or a different olive oil. I read about a cooking school once where they spend 3 weeks just on potatoes, so that the subtleties of the tastes variations became familiar to the students.
This recipe is the simplest of pasta recipes, and one that you will want to make often. There are no quantities given, you can alter them until you find the ratios that work best for your pasta and your olive oil.
Different versions of this can be found all over Italy – it is a dish that most families enjoy at least once a week – often it is a Monday night supper. We make it with spaghetti.
Similar recipes include Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Capunti Pasta with Basil and Tomatoes, Penne with Broad Beans and Ricotta, Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, and Orzo Pasta Salad with Spinach and Pine Nuts.
You might also like to read Why we Cook Pasta al dente.
Pasta all’Aglio e Olio | The Simplest of Spaghetti Dishes
Great pasta. Red Chilli. The best Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Garlic. Sea Salt. Freshly ground black pepper. Nothing more required.
recipe notes and alternatives
Add chopped tomatoes and soft herbs such as basil.
Parsley is also great with this dish, as is basil. Use a handful per 2 people.
A great fruity or lemony extra virgin olive oil suits this dish.
You can also add finely grated lemon zest, chopped capers and/or stoned olives.