Pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino


Of the many varied ways we use pasta in our home, this is perhaps our favourite.

It’s a spicy, salty, oily flavour explosion.

It’s also quite tricky – the timing is everything.

As with wok cooking, everything – garlic, anchovies, parsley – needs to be ready and chopped well before the pasta is cooked.

And don’t even think about making the “sauce” – if that’s what it is – until the pasta is about 95 per cent done.

I was surprised to find, on checking our various Itralian cookbooks, that none them included the anchovies.

Oh well – we do!

And all those recipes use less parsley than us.

What can I say? We love the green stuff!

I can’t imaging using short pasta with this – though we do when making the closely related version using broccoli.

Because this pasta concoction is not one that holds its heat well at all, we use the pasta water to pre-heat the bowls.

Everyone will have their own comfort levels when it comes to the chilli, garlic and anchovies.

Almost as good as the taste is the way cooking this pongs up the house!


Extra virgin olive oil



Chilli flakes


Long pasta


1. Get the water going in a really big pot.

2. Finely chop garlic and anchovies; leave on chopping board alongside your required level of chilli flakes.

3. On a separate board, chop the parsley.

4. When the pasta is about half way done, gently warm a generous amount of the oil in a pan on a very low heat.

5. When pasta is all but done, turn pan heat up to a low medium.

6. Throw in the garlic, chilli flakes and anchovies.

7. Stir frequently to break up the anchovies. The garlic should get only a light tan so some care and attention is required.

8. Drain pasta, using the water to pre-heat bowls.

9. Turn pan heat to very low and toss drained pasta into the pan, swirling it around so all the good stuff is sticking to it.

10. Throw in the parsley and swirl similarly.

11. Serve in pre-heated bowls and top with another dollop of extra virgin olive oil if desired or needed.

12. Eat.

13. Lick lips and smile.

4 thoughts on “Pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino

  1. Very popular at our place tonight, Kenny. Thank you. The adults enjoyed the anchovies. The kids hoovered the lot, grunted and left. We have another version: sans anchovies but including the zest of a lemon and a little of the lemon juice.


  2. Nice pix. One tip: Don’t drain the pasta well or else put some of the salted pasta water in the pan before adding the pasta. This helps bring out the flavors of the chili and give the dish much needed salt to enhance flavor.


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