Giorgio Locatelli, the Italian cuisine ambassador in London, has shared his home recipes in the book "Made at Home." Among his favorites is a spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino that perfectly showcases his culinary skills.
A staple on plates of seasoned bachelors and those less adept in the culinary arts, spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino is one of Giorgio Locatelli's favorite dishes. A long-time star on London's culinary scene and a Masterchef celebrity, he suggests pairing it, as mentioned here in The Guardian, with a green salad and a glass of crisp white wine.
Originally from Campania but popular throughout southern Italy, the recipe is essentially similar to vermicelli with clams (vermicelli with vongole fujute) but is known in Rome as the "cheaters' pasta" due to its speed in covering up any indiscretions. Given its simplicity, selecting the best ingredients is paramount: rough Italian durum wheat spaghetti to capture the oil, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, high-quality extra virgin olive oil, and habanero pepper or another variety to taste. The recipe is taken from the book Made at Home.
Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino recipe by Giorgio Locatelli
Serves 4 people
500g of spaghetti
1 chili pepper
4 garlic cloves
200ml of extra virgin olive oil
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
Slice the chili pepper (you'll need about a tablespoon) and cut the garlic into thick slices, approximately 1mm thick.
In a cold pan, pour a small amount of olive oil. Add the garlic, then add more cold oil while keeping it off the heat. Put the pan back on the heat, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Once all the oil is incorporated this way, let the garlic color slightly, and then add the chili pepper. Let it infuse briefly, then remove from the heat and pour a couple of tablespoons of pasta cooking water, making sure not to let it separate.
When the pasta is cooked but still al dente, drain it, setting aside some of the cooking water.
Toss the pasta in the garlic and chili-infused oil, adding more cooking water as needed if it's too dry, so that it coats the pasta well. Serve immediately.
Garnish with grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
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