Spaghetti Aglio,Olio e Peperoncino (Spaghetti with garlic, oil and chiles)

On the Amalfi coast, everyday provided another exciting round of flavours and sights. Lemons, the size of grapefruits were everywhere. The fresh leaves were used to wrap ingredients, infusing a dish with an enticing citrus aroma and flavour upon baking. Wrapped around soft raisins and tied, the leaves, left to dry, imparted sweet citrus notes to a lovely packaged snack. And Limoncello, that intense lemon liqueur was waiting in everyone’s freezer.

One day, we picked pine cones in the woods above the city. Thrown in a fire, the cones burst open like a flower, revealing a warm pine nut in each of its petals. Heaven.
I had the best pizzas of my life there, and a dish of spaghetti tossed with olive oil-sauteed garlic and red chiles. Aglio (garlic), olio (oil) and peperoncino (chile).
It’s the only dish from my Amalfi travels that I’m able to reconstruct at home. The ingredients are readily available, simple to make and don’t cost a fortune. I return to it time and time again. It’s a quick lunch, dinner, a great hangover cure and a profoundly comforting dish.

While the spaghetti is cooking, roughly chop 4 or 5 cloves of garlic. Add the garlic to 2 to 3 tablespoons of fruity olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once the garlic starts to dance, add chopped fried red chiles – with the seeds – and fry a few minutes more, carefully not to burn.
Drain the pasta and toss it with the aglio, olio and peperoncino mix. Salt to taste. Add some grated parmesan or romano cheese. Toss. Enjoy.
The garlic-chile-oil ratio can be adjusted to suit your sensibilities. Some days I crave more garlic, more chile, other days, less. Sometimes I add chopped parsley, but mostly not. I’ve ordered it in restaurants, but it never comes close to my own technique. It’s a personal thing, one that’s imbued with sweet travel memories. That’s never on a restaurant’s menu.


One Response to “Spaghetti Aglio,Olio e Peperoncino (Spaghetti with garlic, oil and chiles)”

  1. Linda Makiej says:

    This sounds DIVINE!!

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