Recipe Difficulty: Easy, but cooking the noodles perfectly does take attention to detail.
Authentic Aglio e Olio
Spaghetti aglio e olio is a traditional Italian pasta dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. The dish is thought to have originated in the southern regions of Italy, where it was likely made as a simple and inexpensive way to feed a large number of people using readily available ingredients. Garlic and olive oil have been staples in Italian cooking for centuries, and it is likely that this dish has been enjoyed in various forms for a long time. The addition of red pepper flakes, which is a common variation of the dish, is thought to have originated in the southern region of Calabria, where the use of spicy peppers in cooking is prevalent. Today, spaghetti aglio e olio is a popular dish all over Italy and around the world, and it is enjoyed as a simple, flavorful, and economical meal.
Recipe Inspired by Aglio e Olio
This is a simple meal inspired by Spaghetti Aglio E Olio.
I sometimes (not always) like to add mushrooms and parsley to my spaghetti aglio e olio, perhaps that nulls being able to even call it spaghetti aglio e olio exactly, but it's my dinner and I love mushrooms, and I like adding parsley. I also used multigrain spaghetti because I choose to eat whole grains more often than not. That is what is pictured in the photographs. I will say that in this instance, there is something to be said for using regular spaghetti. I think if you are making this for this first time, it might be nice to not use multigrain, I don't quite have the words...it just tastes "cleaner" if that makes sense. Multigrain spaghetti is nuttier and regular spaghetti maybe allows you to fully taste the garlic and olive oil sauce as intended. If you want something authentic, don't add the mushrooms and parsley, don't use multigrain spaghetti. With that being said there would be other recipes where I'd think using multigrain pasta would be perfect. Depends on the individual dish.
Al dente pasta
An important part of properly prepared aglio e olio is to cook your pasta until "al dente".
"Al dente" describes pasta that should still be firm when bitten. The term means "to the tooth" in Italian.
When my friend Antonio was visiting he made this dish for me. He is from Ischia, an island off of Naples. He too is a chef and he gave me a different perspective of what properly cooked "al dente" pasta means to a Neapolitan. I'm pretty sure most of us in North America would just think " it's under cooked", because that was my first impression when I took a taste. (I would have bet money that my version of al dente was the correct version) But then he started explaining this regional preference, and as I was munching away I started to appreciate the toothsome-ness of the spaghetti I was eating. Don't worry though, this meal will still be delicious whether or not you shave a minute or two off your typical pasta cooking time.
Antonio making pasta Aglio e Olio
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