Done well, there are few things that beat a big bowl of al dente spaghetti tossed in garlic and chilli.
This warmly satisfying pasta dish will have everyone coming back for seconds.
Spaghetti al aglio e peperoncino (serves 2)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 large red chillies, thinly sliced
4–5tbspn extra-virgin olive oil
Cook the garlic and chillies very gently in a small pan with the oil, until the garlic is pale golden and both are crisp. Lift out with a slotted spoon and put onto a small plate; reserve the oil.
Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain well in a colander over a bowl and keep some of the drained cooking water.
Now take a large frying pan (non-stick is preferable here) and add some of the reserved garlic/chilli-flavoured oil. Heat gently and then tip in the spaghetti, garlic and chilli. Turn and toss the pasta around until it’s well coated with oil and the chilli and garlic are well dispersed, then loosen with a splash or two of the cooking water to emulsify the assembly. Decant into the (ready warmed) bowl into which you drained the pasta and serve forthwith.
Pair peas and salmon with flower-pressed pasta for a seasonally inspired dish.
Fennel is a natural companion to fish.