The simplest and most basic of all pasta suppers, spaghettini aglio e olio is made from ingredients most of us have in the cupboard. It's an emergency supper that is quick, cheap and tasty.
Cook 200g spaghetti or the finer spaghettini in deep, salted boiling water until al dente. Drain lightly. Put a fat pinch of crushed, dried chillies, 2 cloves of garlic chopped very finely, 3 tbsp of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley and 4 tbsp olive oil into a pan. Place over a low heat and cook until the garlic is pale gold. Toss the drained pasta with the warm oil and serve immediately.
The quality of the oil is important. Go for your favourite. Heating the garlic and chilli too much will send it bitter. To keep it sweet, make sure it doesn't get any darker than palest gold. Keep parsley quite coarse to give the correct rustic quality to the dish. Drain the pasta only lightly, so that there is a little water left on it – this will help to ensure the pasta is moist and juicy. Salt the pasta water generously – it should taste like seawater.
I like the simplicity of this recipe as it is, but you can use it as a base for a more elaborate version by adding sliced, marinated artichokes, chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped anchovies, toasted breadcrumbs, lemon zest, shavings of parmesan or shredded basil leaves.