The year was 1998. The place - Grand Hotel Francia e Quirinale, in the Tuscan spa town of Montecatini.
In the hotel's restaurant, among other gastronomic delights, my Husband and I were served the most delectable Spaghetti Aglio Olio we have ever tasted. Honestly!
Without a doubt, the chef had used the highest grade olive oil, pasta and cheese. The fusion of the 3 ingredients, amplified by the spice of bird's eye chilli, was extraordinary. So simple, yet so divine. I will never forget the way my taste buds danced during that meal. It was one of those memorable occasions where the food really made a statement.
Today, I made Spaghetti Aglio Olio to satisfy an afternoon craving. Sigh ... I am depressed and stuck at home, remember? So, eat I will! Meh.
(from everywhere ... this is a classic!)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- A few springs of fresh parsley* (just the leaves), chopped very finely
* Since Italian parsley is not available here, I used English parsley
- 1 bird's eye chilli, deseeded
- Freshly grated Parmesan*
* Always grate your own because pre-grated ones in packets just won't do
- Extra virgin olive oil*
* I know any Italian reading this will go into fits, but I really like the ones sold by Carrefour under the Reflets de Provence range *feeble grin*
* I used Barilla Spaghettini cos they cook fast ... perfect for instant gratification!
1. Boil water to cook pasta. Make sure you salt the water well.
2. In a skillet, heat up a generous portion of extra virgin olive oil (pour about 3-4 rounds of the skillet). Over a low flame, add minced garlic and allow flavour to infuse. Do not let garlic brown.
3. Throw in the finely chopped parsley leaves.
4. Throw in the chopped chilli.
5. Drain the pasta (make sure it has been cooked till al dente), saving a little pasta water.
6. Toss the spaghetti into the skillet and mix all the ingredients till all strands are well coated. Add a pinch of salt, if required. Add a little pasta water if too dry.
7. Grate Parmesan cheese over the pasta. For a cheeselover like me, I grate like there is no tomorrow. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!