Traditional Aglio e Olio Pasta

FYI I'm living in Malaysia (in an underdeveloped town) so some western / European ingredients are hard to come by or they are very very expensive so sometimes I use local material sourced from local store.

There are a lot of similar cooking methods of this dish that you can find on the internet, some of them are great but most of them are rubbish.  You see, this dish is very simple (the simplest and BEST Italian dish ever created) yet it is so hard to achieve perfection because most people OVERDO it.

This method of mine is the real thing, with some good tips.

Portion for 4 people
Cooking Time (from preparation to completion) 30 minutes max for an amateur.  For an experienced cook only 10-15 minutes is needed.  If you exceed this time frame, you are doing something wrong!  Remember: KEEP IT SIMPLE

Capelli d'angelo (a.k.a angel hair pasta) or Linguine (because these kinds of pasta will soak up the oil nicely)

8 cloves of garlic (basically 2 clove for each person), crushed and coarsely chopped

parsley (fresh or dried)

black pepper

chilli (I prefer fresh bird's eye chilli because they are hot and amazing but you can use any kind, even dried ones).  For bird's eye chilli I will use 6 (basically around one and a half per person) but the amount depends on how hot you want this dish to be

extra virgin olive oil (the better the quality, the better this dish will taste.  if you can afford premium, go for it)

grated Parmesan cheese (the better the quality, the better it will taste) (optional)

cooking method:

1) Prepare a pot of water and start to boil it.

2) When you are waiting for the water to boil (BEFORE putting in the pasta), start preparing your ingredients.  Crush and chop the garlic.  Finely chop your fresh parsley.  Chop the chilli.  Grate your cheese into a bowl or plate if you still have time (you can also grate it directly into the pasta after your it is done).

3) When the water is boiling, add salt to it, stir.  Then add in the pasta.  The amount of pasta will depend on personal experience, too much and your sauce is not enough, too little and you won't have enough to feed all your "customers".  Usually one standard pack of pasta is enough for 4 people.

4) After you add in the pasta to the water, wait for 2 minutes, then heat up the pan, add in the olive oil (lots of it.  for 4 people you will need around half an inch in a medium sized pan).  With high heat, dump your garlic, dried parsley (if you are not using fresh ones), and chilli all in one go.  Switch to LOW HEAT IMMEDIATELY because you don't want to burn the ingredients.

5) Add 4-5 teaspoon black pepper (to taste) and 1-2 teaspoon (to taste) of salt then stir for 1 minute.

6) By this time your pasta should be ready (al dente), make sure to test it out by selecting one strand and chewing it.  If it's still not ready yet, you can switch off the heat on the ingredients.  If the pasta is ready but your ingredients are not, you can switch off the heat on the pasta.  It takes some practice to time both sides correctly.

7a) When both sides are ready, make sure you have low heat on the ingredients pan, transfer the pasta (using a thong) directly to the ingredients (with pasta water dripping into the pan also, this is very important).  Don't be afraid to transfer some pasta water also because the ingredients pan will easily dry out.  Put in the fresh parsley.  Use the thong to mix all the ingredients and oil with the pasta (still with lowest heat).  Add some more pasta water and olive oil if it's too dry.

7b) If you are cooking for a big group of people and the pan is too small, do it the other way (transfer all the ingredients with the oil into the pasta pot after you have drained it, but don't drain all the water, leave some in there).

8) After everything has been mixed, switch off heat and transfer pasta portion by portion into separate plates and make sure they have equal amounts of ingredients especially the oil and garlic.  Don't be lazy, this is an important step.

9) Add in the cheese.  Add a tiny bit of black pepper on top.  Then add some olive oil on top of that.  Serve.

Important note:  After the dish is done, the olive oil should be clear and gold coloured.  The garlic should look almost raw / uncooked with a bit of gold colour and NOT brown.  


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