Greatest recipes ever: Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilli

‘Early summer and autumn are the best time for foraging, so if you’re excited by the idea of disappearing into nature and picking some of its bounty for the table, now is the time to start. Wild garlic is an easy one.

The long, generous, green leaves are distinctive in shady woodlands and verges, as are their pretty white flowers, and if your eyesight fails you, their pungent smell will grab your attention. You can chop them up and add them to frittatas, omelettes, tarts or any recipe that calls for normal garlic.
I love them mixed with thyme, butter, salt and pepper, and spread lavishly to make a buttery garlic bread.

Jason Lowe is a wonderful photographer, and published a delightful book on Italian food a few years ago with his wife. I love the simplicity of this recipe of theirs. A tired cliché in this country is that if you don’t have money, you can’t eat well. Fiddlesticks!

You can eat pretty well for very little with know-how and imagination. Invest in a modest lump of good Parmesan and a small bottle of good olive oil, and fill your evenings with dishes like this, made even more delicious and magical with some finely chopped, freshly picked wild garlic
and decorated with the snow-white flowers.

If you’re a city-dweller, you’ll find wild garlic sold at good farmer’s markets and delis for a snip’

Spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilli

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Extract from Lori de Mori and Jason Lowe’s

The Real Flavour of Tuscany

Published in 2009 by Quadrille

Serves 6


3 garlic cloves, crushed
5tbsp olive oil
2 fresh or dried chillies, finely chopped with their seeds
500g dried spaghetti
Sea salt
Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


Warm the garlic and olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. When the garlic is blonde and fragrant, add the chopped chillies and remove the pan from the heat.

Boil the spaghetti in abundant salted water. Drain after about eight minutes, when it is almost, but not quite, cooked. Add the pasta to the pan with the seasoned oil and toss well over a high heat for a couple of minutes, until the pasta is al dente. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.