Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino e Guanciale

Five Simple ingredients. One great supper. Aglio e Olio many claim, is the simplest pasta sauce in the entire Italian culinary canon. You don't even need cheese — in fact, some would argue cheese isn't a welcome addition. If you have spaghetti, garlic, salt, and oil, you can make this pasta right now. But as with all simple dishes, using the highest-quality ingredients is crucial to achieving the best flavour, and this late-night Roman staple is astonishingly full-flavoured. Inspired by the delicious Tagliatelle Aglio e Olio we enjoyed at Osteria Acquacheta in Montepulciano, my husband created this modified version using Guanciale di Norcia that we had brought back from a recent trip to Umbria. A delicacy of central Italy, guanciale looks like bacon but has a richer flavour, and provides the perfect foil for this simple and supremely comforting iconic pasta dish.

Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil, Crushed Red Chilis & Guanciale
Serves 4

1 lb spaghetti

4 tbsp of olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
1 tsp hot chili flakes
1/4 cup finely diced guanciale
1 cup grated pecorino, for garnish

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over low. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the guanicale and chiles, and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water, and add to the skillet with the other ingredients and toss well to combine. Serve in warmed pasta bowls and garnish with grated pecorino if desired.  

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