The Basics: How to Make Garlicky Spaghetti
I'm just reading Chow for fun but, as an Italian (i live in Rome) i cannot let you comments pass (as i dont' like the way recipes are presented step by step).However..
Too many people probably don't really know the real italian food because too many so-called "italian" restaurants are absolutely everything but italian.
So let's start:
1)This recipe is called "Aglio e olio". It's correct italian. But, because of its roman (the city not the empire) origin, this recipe is called "aglio, oglio e peperoncino" because in the roman (the city) dialect, olio becomes "oglio" and we DO NOT use normal pepper flakes but ONLY 2 or three entire chili peppers.
2)The oil in the water is absolutely prohibited in every receipt which involves pasta. It's a barbaric conviction that italian people puts oil in the water. (Someone told me that the real Tuscany recipes involved this strange thing: it's false).
3a)In this recipe it's absolutely incoherent and absurd to add cheese of every kind. If u want to add it then you're attending not an italian recipe but a nuclear experiment or an industrial chemical weapon..However...
3b)"Cheese is choice"..in the recipes in which you can put cheese on the pasta (this is not) is always the eater who decides tu put some parmigiano on it when it's served. there's only one kind of recipe (or recipes) in which you put cheese for every one and these are recipes based on sauces in which cheese is the principal ingredient (like the forum cheeses sauce).
4)The word "Linguini" doesn't exists. You can eat if u want "Linguine" or, better, "Fettuccine".
5)It's obvious that it's impossible to cook pasta and THEN prepare a good sauce and THEN have something eatable. There's no Lydia Bastianich practice in here, it's common sense. So start considering the "steps" of this recipe just as vague indications of the recipe itself
6)you DO NOT add salt to the pasta at the end unless it's strictly necessary. The salt you add is ALWAYS when you're boiling the water. There are two different schools in italy about that: some add salt when the water isnot boiling some others add salt when the water is boiling (and i think it's better like that because the salt expand uniformally).
7) THE FINAL RECEIPT is like that:
Put a great amount of water in a pot and start heating it. In the mean time prepare the garlic like you've seen in one of the steps, put two or three spoons of olive oil in the pan and add the garlic and the two or three (it depends on how hot u want it..better two or in certain cases one) chili peppers that you have just partially broken with your hands so to let their seed come out in the pan.
Heat at low-medium flame so to let the oil take the tase of the pepper and the garlic, you can measure the time just observing the peppers and the garlic. The garlic must be eventually gold and the peppers MUST nOT become black (not burned). For this reason the flame must not be high otherwise you burn ewveryting.
While this thing is happening your water is obviously boiling so you put your pasta in it, adjust the flame to medium-medium/low (it must not continue to boil forever) and then cook the pasta for an INFERIOR number of minutes respect of the minutes indicated on the package because the amount of minutes indicated on the package let the pasta to be "al dente" (at the tooth) that means not a mushy pasta and not a raw pasta.
So you have to cook it in the water an inferior amount of minutes (if u have 8 minustes on the package, you have to cook it for 6/7) because the other cooking minutes will be covered by the adding seasoning process and the serving process.
When your pasta is ready you can strain your pasta and put it on the pan (or put it back in the pot and add the pan content). DO NOT put any amount of the cooking water in the pan..this technique is used only with sauces (tomato,etc etc). In this case you do not have a sauce you have only a little amnount of fried oil that you're mixing with hot water. It's frobidden to do it while the water it's boiling and it's forbidden to do it now.
Now you're obviosulty mixing the pasta. And now you can add more crude olive oil (a good one i hope)..because this recipe is not based on fried oil: it will be a pain for your stomach and it will be unuseful. So you "fry" (heat si better) only a little amount of olive oil just to absorb the flavour in the oil..and then you add more CRUDE olive oil to expand this flavour to the whole pasta and let the dish be not a fatty bomb.
After adding more oil you're done..you can serve it with a little amount of dried herbs on it (parsley or sage) or wht some parts of the dried peppers you have previously used to add more colour.
VARIANT: You can add the dried herbs directly with the garlicg and the dried peppers just to add more colour..BUT remember to add a certain amount of it (not a mountain but not only a spoon..two or three spoons) because the will reach the whole pasta when you'll ad the oil in the end.
I hope you'll enjoy..i wrote too much maybe but the entire receipt takes 10 minutes straight and it's done when you don't want to cook. I'm not a cook..this how everyone cooks this dish here in rome since i was born.