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  • Writer's pictureDavid

Spaghetti Aglio e olio

An authentic recipe for a traditional Roman dish. Simplicity itself!

Another day, another great recipe from the cucina povera tradition. This is soooo simple, and soooo tasty. But you can easily bugger it up. Pay attention!

You won't regret it.





olive oil



dried chilli flakes



Watch the video


  • Top and tail the garlic, peel it and slice it mighty fine

  • NB - do NOT crush or batter the garlic. Be nice

  • Finely chop the parsley

  • Boil well-salted water and add the spaghetti - you can turn it down a bit - it doesn't have to keep boiling!

  • Set a timer for 8 minutes

  • Put a good cup of olive oil in a pan and gently heat it up

  • Add the garlic and give it a good stir through the oil

  • A medium heat - the garlic mustn't brown

  • When the garlic is bubbling a bit in the oil, add some pepper and a good couple of pinches of chilli flakes (more or less as you desire the heat)

  • Stir it all through, and after a couple of minutes, add two or three ladles of pasta water - watch out for the bubble and fizz!

  • Add three quarters of the parsley and stir it through

  • After the 8 minutes, add the pasta - as with several of these recipes: don't drain it first: just lift it from the water

  • Reserve some pasta water in case you need to add it later

  • Stir the pasta though thoroughly and cook for another 2 minutes

  • NB - pasta makers would ask you stir the pasta thoroughly, but gently. Use a wooden spoon, not tongs. Don't break the pasta - be nice.

  • Add the rest of the parsley and stir through

  • Keep the pasta wet - use the reserved water if it gets too dry: remember it is still cooking

  • NB - Romans would NEVER put cheese on this. It is finished as it is. No cheese, no pepper, no breadcrumbs. Of course you can add these things - it's your dinner. But just try it as it should be - just this once. Go on. You'll like it.

  • Ah, you will you will you will you will . You will. Go on...

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