Pasta con aglio, oglio é peperoncino, or ‘Pasta with Garlic, Oil and Pepper’ is an Italian classic comfort food. Another of Francesco’s Favorites (the Italian Husband), this Italian classic takes only 15 minutes and is the perfect weeknight meal!
Let’s get this out of the way first: yes, I am a dietitian and yes, I absolutely love pasta. Many people may associate pasta with cheesy, meat filled dishes like American-style lasagna or fettucine alfredo (which, by the way, does not exist in Italy), but my love for pasta dishes leans toward simple olive oil-based dishes that feature fresh vegetables (like my Favorite Summer Shrimp & Vegetable Pasta).
But you’re not going to find any vegetables in this Aglio, Oglio é Peperoncino. And that’s ok.
Francesco’s Favorites: Aglio, Oglio é Peperoncino
I recently began a new recipe series called “Francesco’s Favorites,” highlighting a few of my husband’s favorite meals. He grew up in Italy (didn’t leave until he was 30) and while I thought I knew all of his culinary skills, about a year ago he pulled out this Italian pasta. I was at once in love with it and also mad at him for keeping this deliciousness a secret for six years of our marriage. How did he not make this for me before?
This classic Italian dish only has five ingredients (pasta, garlic, oil, red pepper flakes, and cheese) and is an excellent example of how Italian cuisine can be so simple yet so flavorful. I’ve been known to overdo it with my meals by trying to fit in any and every strong flavor (great example) but real Italian cooking makes the most out of simple ingredients by combining them in a way that pulls out the best flavor combinations.
And who can resist a beautiful plate of simple, fresh pasta?
Which would you choose: pizza forever or pasta forever?
Francesco and I have a longstanding
argument heated discussion about a serious hypothetical life choice: if you had to choose to eat either pizza or pasta for the rest of your life, only one or the other, which would you choose?
Francesco, he chooses pizza. He says that the possibilities for pizza are endless and therefore he could eat pizza every day for the rest of his life and be satisfied. Me? No. No, I do not agree. To me the choices of different pastas available are enough for me to forgo pizza in favor of farfalle, bucatini and orrechiette. Pizza will always be the same not matter what you put on it; pasta, on the other hand, can take on so many forms.
So which would you choose? Pizza or pasta?
Aglio, Oglio é Peperoncino: tips, tricks & tools
Aglio, Oglio é Peperoncino is truly one of the easiest things you will ever make that tastes like you spent a summer studying Italian cooking in Tuscany, but here are a few basic tricks and tools that will help:
- Good pasta: It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: you need to buy good pasta. I never gave much thought to my pasta in the past but after marrying into the culture I now know there are a few brands that are considered “la crema,” or “the best.” For this Aglio, Oglio é Peperoncino I suggest using either a thick spaghetti or my favorite pasta right now, bucatini, from DeCecche, Barillo or a new-to-us organic brand we’ve been loving, Maltagliati.
- Good olive oil: If you’ve been buying cheap olive oil then it’s time to upgrade. While a lower quality olive oil definitely has its place in the kitchen, a dish like Aglio, Oglio é Peperoncino relies on the strong taste of a good quality olive oil to deliver its peak flavor. Buy a small bottle of a good brand like La Tourangelle or Papa Vince and save it to use on simple dishes like this when the olive flavor really shines.
- Tools: you don’t need more than a good boiling pot and a large pan, but if you’re in the market for either I suggest this Lodge pot and this stone-earth Ozeri pan.
Pasta con aglio, oglio é peperoncino, or ‘Pasta with Garlic, Oil and Pepper’ is an Italian classic comfort food. This Italian classic takes only 15 minutes and is the perfect weeknight meal!
- 1/3 package/box bucatini (about 6 oz)
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 4-6 garlic cloves, whole
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese
- In a large pot, bring 8 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta (don’t break in half!) and boil about 8 minutes, or until al dente (lighly firm, not soft).
- In the meantime, heat oil over medium heat. Add whole garlic cloves and red pepper, cooking until garlic emits a strong odor and oil is turning lightly brown. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
- When pasta is done, strain (do not rinse) and add to garlic and chili oil mixtures. Toss lightly to coat and plate immediately and top with cheese.
- Enjoy right away, when flavors are warm. Then write to me and tell me how much you love it!
Make it healthy(ish)! Serve a simple side salad of arugula and an appetizer of fresh tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper to round out this meal.
- Serving Size: 1 serving (about 2 cups)
- Calories: 465
Need more pasta night dinner ideas?
Try one of my favorites pasta dishes for your next pasta night:
- Favorite Summer Shrimp & Vegetable Pasta
- Vegan Fusilli Pasta Salad
- Mushroom Pea Risotto with White Truffle Oil