Spaghetti (Spaghettini) Aglio, Olio

Spaghetti (Spaghettini) with Garlic and Oil

This is a seminal pasta dish, in many ways the simplest of all. Master this one and you are well on the way to becoming an accomplished pasta cook.


  • 500 g spaghetti or spaghettini
  • salt
  • 5 tbsp good olive oil
  • 4 small dried chillies (more if you’re a vindaloo wallah), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed


Put 5 litres water on to boil. Put a colander in the sink. Warn your guests that food is imminent. This dish depends on speed of service for its quality. Salt the water. When boiling vigorously, add the pasta.

Immediately put a medium frying pan over a flame. Add the oil, chilli and garlic. The garlic may colour slightly, but must not burn – turn the heat down very low.

When the pasta is al dente, after about 8 minutes, drain through the colander, having reserved a small jug of the cooking water. Return the pasta quickly to the cooking pan, and place over a high flame. Immediately add the flavoured oil, toss and serve.