spaghetti aglio e olio
h loves his pasta as simple as can be. and the sure way to get him oohing and aahing about my cooking is to make his favourite kind of pasta - spaghetti lightly tossed in garlic, chili pepper flakes, fresh or dried herbs and olive oil.
i start by heating 3 or 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet. this is just about enough for 2 portions of cooked spaghetti. depending on how much pasta you plan to cook and how oily you like your pasta, you have to use your judgement on how much olive oil you'll need.
when the oil is nicely heated, i add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and let it sizzle before turning down the heat so that the garlic does not get burnt. i then add half a fistful of chilli pepper flakes (h likes his pasta really spicy!) and another half a fistful of dried italian herbs. you can also add fresh herbs like oregano and parsley, if on hand, but make sure you add it just after tossing the spaghetti and not at this stage. finally, i add sea salt and freshly ground pepper and allow the sauce to simmer on very low heat.
meanwhile, i start boiling a big pot of salted water, cook the spaghetti as desired and then drain. i usually save just a bit of water in case i messed up on the proportions of aglio e olio and the spagetthi ends up being a bit dry. add the cooked spaghetti to the sauce and toss well. you can add freshly grated parmesan if you like cheese with your pasta.
toasted baguette slices with a paprika garlic spread go really well with spaghetti aglio e olio.
thinly slice half a baguette. mix together garlic paste, paprika, salt and pepper. spread on the bread and toast lightly.
enjoy with a nice glass of red wine!