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1 lb (450 g) spaghetti
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 – 3 small hot red chili peppers
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped (optional)
Pasta with Oil and Garlic
Pasta Aio e Oio
Turn the heat to medium. Sauté the garlic briefly, but turn the heat off before the garlic can begin coloring.
Cook the spaghetti in abundantly salted water following the manufacturer’s instructions, tasting for readiness from time to time. While the pasta is cooking, pour the olive oil in a skillet and add the garlic and red pepper.
When pasta is al dente (firm but not too soft or overcooked), drain and transfer to a bowl.
Top with the oil-garlic mixture.
Spread the chopped parsley on top (if desired). Toss thoroughly and serve at once.
Do not overcook or burn the garlic! Browned garlic is considered a big mistake in Italian cooking. Use fresh hot peppers when available and slice them before adding them to the skillet. If fresh red peppers are unavailable, use whole hot dry red peppers, chopped coarsely, or a generous quantity of hot crushed red pepper.
Aio e Oio is the Roman dialectal way of saying garlic and oil. It is generally prepared very spicy, so don’t be shy with the quantity of red pepper.