Spaghetti aglio, olio & peperoncino

This pasta dish is the southern equivalent to pasta carbonara from the North of Italy. With its four quality ingredients it is very easy and quick to prepare, and can be a joker to play even at the last minute, which guarantees a sure success. Its absolute simplicity and ingredients that we always have in the pantry makes it an economical and achievable dish that everyone appreciates.
It is enough to have a good quality pasta – spaghetti is the strict format – some cloves of garlic that are white, red or pink, excellent extra virgin olive oil and fresh chili peppers, to serve one of the most famous pasta dishes of the Italian culinary tradition.


320 g spaghetti
2 cloves of garlic
red chili pepper (1 large or 2 small fresh ones) or 1 tsp dried chili flakes
il circolo extra virgin olive oil
Parmezan cheese  (3/4 cup)
Fresh parsley


  1. Remove seeds and filaments of the chili peppers and cut them into a pieces. Thinly slice the garlic. If you prefer you can alternatively only slightly squeeze the cloves with the flat side of a knife.
  2. Boil the spaghetti in plenty of water with a little salt until it is not even al dente  (which is about 3 minutes less than indicated on the packaging).
  3. In a saucepan, heat plenty of olive oil and add the garlic and chili flakes. Cook over low heat and make sure the garlic and chili do not burn. Remove it from the heat when the chili is soft and the garlic releases a fine smell. If you added the entire garlic cloves remove them from the oil.
  4. Add a few large spoons of cooking water from the pasta. Cook the sauce over medium heat until it has a creamy consistency. Turn the heat down again when the chili is soft.
  5. Use a pasta tongs and transfer the pasta, before it is ‘al dente’ to the pan with the sauce.  If the pasta looks too dry, use a little more of the cooking water. Leave everything on the fire for another 3 minutes. In the meantime, add Parmesan cheese, stirring little by little, and finally, when it looks creamy, add a tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley.


For a stronger flavor, two tablespoons of capers and a tablespoon of finely chopped parsley can be added.

There are many varieties of garlic commonly grown in Italy, many of which are protected by consortia and Slow Food presidia such as white garlic Polesano DOP, garlic from Vessalico or red from Nubia. The white type is the most common, the best preservable and the one that has the most intense taste and aroma. Pink garlic is very delicate in flavor and taste, difficult to preserve and consumed especially when it is young. Finally, red garlic has a strong flavor that turns towards spicy.


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