I was in Tuscany in a place of dreams. It was summer and, even though the sun had gone, it was still as warm as England’s hottest day.
I sat on a terrace wondering if any view could be more perfect when a bowl of pasta was offered as a snack before the dinner which would follow sometime much later.
I don’t know the extent to which it was the location, the view, the Tuscan aromas that filled the air… but it remains one of my most perfect eating experiences. How ironic, then, that the dish was beyond simplicity. Or, then again, perhaps not.
- Spaghetti (dried)
- A red chili or two (I think dried)
- A couple of cloves of very fresh garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- A large pot
- A big serving bowl
- Place the pasta into boiling, salted water and cook till al dente.
- Meanwhile, pour a generous glug of oil into the bowl along with the chopped chili and finely chopped garlic.
- Pour the drained pasta directly into the infused oil, season and mix well. Serve instantly.
What you should know
I really don’t know precisely how the chef made this wonderful dish that night. Perhaps there was more chili (or less) than I suggest above…. maybe there were three or four cloves of garlic. I am sure it would be lovely to sprinkle some fresh, chopped parsley over the dish or maybe a generous sprinkle of Parmesan (Reggiano of course).
I guess it’s up to you, and therein lies the beauty of cooking. There are no prescriptions nor certainties, no accounting for an individual’s taste nor circumstance at the precise moment the food passes their lips. My recipe is simply a starting point. The end is yours.