Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

My go-to pasta recipe when creamy and tomato sauce-based pasta just doesn't float my boat that day.
As the name implies, this pasta consists of just three key ingredients - garlic, oil, and chili - a versatile recipe that can be adapted depending on what's in stock in the pantry. Easy peasy, and totally delicious with a kiss of heat.

I had some naturally red, chili-infused Spaghetti Peperoncino that I bought in Rome sitting in my pantry and, well, what else better than to kick it up a notch with garlic and chili? Rather than using dried, crushed chili pepper flakes, I always prefer fresh Thai bird-eye chili for its vibrant color and fieriness. The fumes that immediately arise from sauteeing garlic with Thai chili are truly intoxicating. To add interest I also tossed in a red onion, some mushrooms and a handful of cherry tomatoes.

To prepare:
1. Peel 4-5 garlic cloves and cut into thin slices. Slice one red onion and chop 1-2 Thai bird-eye chili. Adjust quantity and de-seed according to level of heat desired. Don't underestimate these chilis!

2. Wash and slice mushrooms. Cut cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise.

3. Heat oil in pan on medium heat and sautee garlic, onion, and chili until garlic turns golden. Remove and set aside. 

4. Meanwhile, boil pasta in salted water.

5. In the same pan, sautee mushrooms and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Remove and set aside.

6. Drain pasta and add to pan.  On medium heat, add olive oil and tomatoes and briefly stir through. Toss in the garlic, onions, chili and mushrooms and combine to allow the flavors to mingle. Season with salt, black pepper and rosemary to taste. Serve and enjoy the heat!

[Any thoughts or comments? Please share with me!]