Authentic Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

Authentic Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

This aglio olio e peperoncino (pasta with garlic, oil and chili) contains no special seasonings. If you keep it simple and make it correctly, you will have a sublime pasta dish.

Ingredients: 1 serving

Long pasta (1.4 to 1.6 mm thick is best)
90 - 100 g
A. Extra virgin olive oil
45 ml (3 tablespoons)
A. Garlic (sliced thinly or fnely chopped)
1 to 2 small cloves
Red chili peppers (sliced into rounds)
to taste
B. Garlic oil Recipe ID: 1117234 (or substitute with extra virgin olive oil)
10 ml (2 teaspoons)
B. Water
40 ml (2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons)
B. Cake flour
a bit less than 1/2 teaspoon
Black pepper (whole or coarsely ground)
as needed
C. Water
3 liters
C. Salt
35 ml (2 tablespoons +


1. Bring the C. water (the pasta water) to a boil in a large pot. Just before the water comes to a boil, add the C. salt, measuring it out properly.
2. Normally you would use 1% salt water (1 tablespoon of salt to 1.5 liters of water), but this time a little more salt is added.
3. Adding a generous amount of salt to the pasta water, makes it easier for everyone to easily produce great tasting pasta (Tip 1).
4. Combine the B. ingredients and mix until there are no more flour lumps (Tip no. 2 / See Step 12 for details).
5. Put the A. ingredients in a cold frying pan. Cook over low heat to slowly transfer the flavor and fragrance of the garlic to the oil (Tip 3.).
6. When the garlic oil in Step 5 is getting bubbly and fragrant, add the red chili pepper before the garlic starts to change color.
7. If you are using bacon, add it when you are cooking the garlic. For crispy bacon, add it at the beginning; for softer bacon add it midway through onwards.
8. While the garlic and oil (and optional bacon) are cooking, cook the pasta in the water you heated in Step 1, for 30 seconds to a minute less than indicated on the package. Cook over low heat.
9. If you cook the pasta in rapidly boiling water, the water will evaporate and become saltier, and your pasta will get salty too. So cook the pasta over low heat (Tip 4).
10. Note: Make sure the pasta water doesn't come to a rolling boil before or after adding the pasta.
11. When the garlic in the frying pan from Step 6 turns a light beige color, turn off the heat. Make sure not to burn the garlic.
12. Just before the pasta is cooked, put the Step 4 flour-water mixture into the Step 11 frying pan. Turn the heat up to medium, and swirl the pan around for about 15 seconds.
13. Important: As soon as the mixture in the frying pan becomes thick (which means it has emulsified), turn off the heat.
14. When you are making an oil-based pasta dish, the emulsification is very important. In restaurants this is provided via the pasta cooking water, which is thick because so much pasta is cooked in it. But in a home environment you only cook a little pasta at a time so the water doesn't get thick.
15. By adding cake flour to the oil, it gets emulsified much easier. It's a small detail, but to achive a restaurant-like result it's important.
16. Normally you can just add cake flour to some of the pasta water, but in this recipe the pasta water is higher in salt than usual, so plain water and flour are mixed to maintain just the right degree of saltiness.
17. When the pasta is cooked, set the frying pan from Step 12 back over low-medium heat, and add the drained pasta.
18. Mix quickly so that the pasta is evenly coated with the oil.
19. Transfer to a serving plate, grind on some black pepper, and enjoy I think the seasoning should be just right without any adjustments needed at the end.

Story Behind this Recipe

I love aglio olio e peperoncino. While it looks like such a simple pasta dish, I found it difficult to make it the way I really liked it. I learned the cake flour trick from a professional chef, and combined it with what I've learned through experience to come up with this method.