Aio e Oio – Roman Garlic and Oil Sauce

After a weekend of more indulgence than is usual, I needed something easy to make and easy to eat… meatless… only a few ingredients… a classic.

If Marcella Hazan had only taught us how to make this tomato sauce, it would have been enough. Happily, she is responsible for many Italian dishes that are in my repertoire, including this one. How sad that she passed away last Sunday, but how fantastic that she taught so many people how to cook good, simple Italian food.

Here’s what to do.

Start by cooking the spaghetti.

While that’s happening, all the rest of the preparation can be done.
Yes it can! I did it all in the time it took the pasta water to boil, then cook the pasta.

Get parsley, garlic and hot red pepper.

Parsley.

Parsley.

Garlic and hot red pepper.

Garlic and hot red pepper.

Finely chop the red pepper. I used about 1/4 of one red pepper for 2 servings. Take out the seeds to reduce the heat.

Finely chopped hot red pepper.

Finely chopped hot red pepper.

Finely chop the garlic too.

Finely chopped garlic.

Finely chopped garlic.

Cook the hot red pepper and garlic in the olive oil.

Cook the garlic and hot red pepper in olive oil.

Cook the garlic and hot red pepper in olive oil.

While the oil does its thing with the red pepper and garlic and the pasta is cooking, chop the parsley.

Okay! Now the pasta is cooked. And drained.

Spaghetti, cooked al dente, then drained.

Spaghetti, cooked al dente, then drained.

Add the saucepan of oil, red pepper and garlic and toss thoroughly to coat.

The oil, hot red pepper and garlic are added to the pasta.

The oil, hot red pepper and garlic are added to the pasta.

Then add the parsley and toss again.

Add the parsley.

Add the parsley.

And enjoy.

Aio e Oio - Roman Garlic and Oil Sauce.

Aio e Oio – Roman Garlic and Oil Sauce.

From the essential Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.

Aio e Oio – Roman Garlic and Oil Sauce
For 4 servings

1 pound pasta
salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic chopped very fine
chopped hot red chill pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Recommended pasta
Romans say “spaghetti aio e oio’ as though it were one word, and they would as soon expect another pasta to be in combination as the moon to change its course. If any substitution may hesitantly be suggested, it is spaghettini, thin spaghetti, which takes very well to the coating of garlic and oil.

1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling water to which and extra measure of salt has been added. There is no salt in the sauce itself because salt does not dissolve well in olive oil, so the pasta must be abundantly salted before it is tossed.

2. While the pasta is cooking, put the olive oil, garlic and chopped hot pepper in a small saucepan and turn on the heat to medium low. Cook and stir the garlic until it becomes coloured a pale gold. Do not let it become brown.

3. Toss the cooked drained pasta with the entire contents of the saucepan, turning the strands over and over in the oil to coat them evenly. Taste and, if necessary, correct for salt. Add the chopped parsley, toss once again and serve immediately.

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