Best ever pasta dish: Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino

Right folks,

This pasta recipe is the one to rule them all, if you ask me. Before I got into this cooking whilst sailing business, I spent nearly three years in Australia. I moved about a bit, from Sydney, to Melbourne, then Adelaide. I fell in love with Australia and its friendly people, but more about that in another (travel) post.

While in Adelaide, I worked at a fantastic neighbourhood restaurant named Chianti Classico. Luisa, the owner’s mama was 70, very small and incredibly fierce Italian powerhouse of a cook. I feel like I must have asked for spaghetti aglio e olio every single day during my lunch break. It was that good! She used spaghettini, which is very, very thin spaghetti. You can use either.

This dish is so delicious and so simple. I have made a few cheffy tweaks to it over time. You do that in my job, otherwise it gets a bit boring over time. I add parmesan most of the time, sometimes some anchovy and broccoli. Finishing the dish with a handful of spinach would be lovely too. Fundamentally, however, the heart and soul of this dish is four ingredients: pasta, garlic, olive oil and chilli flakes. You can’t go much wrong sticking to the original recipe.

As usual, the method is outlined below.

The Ingredients:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

* these are my additions that are not part of the original recipe



organise all the ingredients before you start cooking.



by sweating the onions and garlic in the oil. Yes there is lots of oil. But this is going to be the ‘sauce’. Sweat them gently, no colour.



the chilli flakes and half the parsley.



the heat off.



the pasta to plenty of salted water. Keep stirring the pasta with a wooden spoon until the water gets back to the boil. Then cook for 1 minutes less than it says on the packet.


Don’t drain

Instead, transfer it using tongs. Allow some of the starchy water with the pasta, in fact make sure you add some of the starchy water. The starchy water, the oil and the parmesan will make the sauce/coating for the pasta.



the rest of the parsley and as much parmesan as you want.


Mix and serve

Absolutely extraordinary.