This being the fourth in succession of the Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino let’s just call the recipe AOP at this stage. As stated previously, AOP has to be the second simplest pasta dish to make (the first is pasta seasoned with just butter and parmesan). Even so, it requires a little bit of attention.
OLIVE OIL – The best olive oil you can muster.
GARLIC – The thinly sliced garlic must ‘stew’, turn golden, and not burn, in plenty of olive oil. That’s why it is a good idea to heat it over a low heat. It can be cooked until it is almost brown if you prefer a stronger taste (this is very old school).
PARSELY – The parsely delivers best if it is a) finely chopped and b) also cooked in the olive oil. I have been known to do neither thing, and just strew a bit of roughly chopped parsely over the cooked and seasoned pasta just before devouring it. It is still good but, as I said, finely chopping it and letting it sauté in the olive oil takes the recipe to another level.
CHILLI – Dried chilli flakes … as much or as little as you like. This ingredient also benefits from being included in the recipe from the word go.
PASTA – The ideal spouse for this pasta seasoning, it’s crowning glory, is Spaghetti.
Today’s variation features toasted bread crumbs, just for the fun of it, just for the added frisson of crunch in our mouth-feel. Except that I didn’t have any bread crumbs to toast. Oh woe is me! Or rather woe would have been me had I not been able to resort to a little trick that is becoming very popular in Italy at the moment. I don’t know whether you’ve heard of Taralli that hail from Puglia and other parts of Souther Italy? The closest description I can come up with is “teensy bagels”. They are served as snacks at all times of the day and it’s always handy to have some around. Warning: despite being somewhat bland in taste they are nevertheless very more-ish.
So, if you’ve been reading the other posts on AOP you know the drill by now.
Chilli and garlic in plenty of olive oil and don’t let it burn.
While that’s happening, finely chop some parsely and ‘pulverize’ one or two of the taralli (the little mound you see on the right). I used a meat pounder to obtain the desired texture.
I then added the chopped parsely and let it cook for very little time, let’s say one minute?
I took the pan off the heat and removed as much of the garlic as I could find. You don’t have to do this. And I personally wouldn’t bother normally but it was just one of those things you do, on a whim, for a very late Sunday lunch when making AOP for my daughter who’d had a late night the night before.
When the pasta was almost cooked and ready to be drained, I put the pan back on the heat and toasted the crushed taralli. This is a terrible photo, I apologise, but trust me: the ‘stuff’ in the middle is the crushed taralli.
Then in went the cooked spaghetti.
I had to add some of the cooking water to finish the dish off, to get the right texture (and taste). A bit of tossing went on too but I was unable to photograph that.
And just before serving I added a further sprinling of taralli (that I had toasted in a separate pan).
There you go. Very nice too.
I would definitely recommend cooking the parsely in the olive oil from the start, whichever of the four AOP recipes you might like to try out some time.
For the rest … Passover and Easter are coming up soon.
Auguri! Greetings to you all and carry on cooking !
Below is a link to another post concerning the use of toasted breadcrumbs on pasta: