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Easy Italian Dishes; Spaghetti with Chili Peppers Garlic and Pecorino

Updated on January 18, 2016

Ingredients for Simple Calabrese Spaghetti Recipe

Ingredients for Spaghetti recipe from Calabria
Ingredients for Spaghetti recipe from Calabria | Source

Spaghetti with Chili Peppers Garlic and Pecorino

4.6 stars from 5 ratings of Spaghetti withh Chili PeppersGarlic and Pecorino

Quick Simple Dinners - From Calabria

The principal secret to this simple Calabrese spaghetti dish is that the spaghetti is drained five minutes before the end of its cook time, then as the video demonstrates, it's mixed in a wide pan in which extra virgin olive oil is frying cloves of garlic and slices of fresh red chili pepper - until the spaghetti is cooked aldente - at which time the freshly grated Calabrian sheep's cheese is added. The amalgamated flavors make for a dense pasta sauce where each ingredient competes and immediately relinquishes its power to the other in intense, creamy harmony.

The other secrets are these:

  • The spaghetti should be a big spaghetti size, at least number 5
  • The chili peppers are best if they are fresh (not dried)
  • The garlic is best fresh
  • The Pecorino cheese is best grated from a fresh piece of cheese
  • The olive oil has to be extra virgin olive oil
  • It's got to be eaten straight away while piping hot from the pan

If your garlic isn't fresh, that's fine too, but best to take the little shoot out in the middle. If your chili peppers are dried, you'll need less chili. If your Pecorino cheese is supermarket bought that is fine too, as long as the cheese is still fresh smelling. (Check the sell-by date and best not use it if its been opened for days).

This is a humble, simple meal so there's no need to make too much fuss about the ingredients.

This recipe comes from Calabria, today, from Nino Papasergio's Bed and Breakfast guest house restaurant Scin√° 015 where the foods are traditional and based entirely on local fresh ingredients which are still cooked the way they have been cooked for hundreds of years.

Did you know?

Calabria is a relatively poor region in South Italy whose hillsides of roaming sheep produce the most tasty Pecorino ('cheese of sheep') and Caciocavallo cheese.

Pan of Spaghetti

Spaghetti cooking in the pan
Spaghetti cooking in the pan | Source

Did you know?

The word for chili pepper in Italy is peperoncino which is pronounced like this:

pepper on cheeno

Cook Time from Start to Finish

Prep time: 3 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 23 min
Yields: 4-5 people a main course portion

Ingredients

  • 17.63 ounces (500 grams) spaghetti
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 whole chili, fresh
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • half cup (to taste, so more if you like) pecorino, fresh and grated
  • 2/3 heaped teaspoons rock salt, (for spaghetti water)

Chili and Garlic Cooking in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Chili and garlic frying in the pan of extra virgin olive oil
Chili and garlic frying in the pan of extra virgin olive oil | Source

Pots and Pans for Making Spaghetti

Cuisinart 722-36H Chef's Classic Stainless 14-Inch Open Skillet with Helper Handle
Cuisinart 722-36H Chef's Classic Stainless 14-Inch Open Skillet with Helper Handle

A chef's classic stainless steel open skillet for safe and comfortable handling

 

Instructions

  1. Put the pasta water onto boil. Salt it. Cover to make it boil faster!
  2. Peel and cut the garlic into two.
  3. Slice the fresh chili peppers.
  4. Grate the cheese.
  5. When the water boils, add the packet of spaghetti. (Stir to separate the strands).
  6. TIMING: Read how many minutes the spaghetti takes to cook (this will be from when it starts to boil).
  7. IMPORTANT. Make a note to drain the spaghetti 2/3rds in to cooking time. (So for example, if the spaghetti takes 8 minutes, you'll be draining it at about 5 mins from boiling. If the spaghetti takes 12 minutes, you'll be draining at about 8 mins).
  8. In a separate pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil.
  9. Add the garlic and the chili peppers and fry a few minutes on a medium heat - it's important you don't brown the garlic! (Keep the garlic white.)
  10. When the spaghetti is 2/3 cooked - and just before straining, take out abut 1 pint of the pasta water and hold to one side.
  11. Strain the spaghetti.
  12. Add it to the pan with the frying garlic and chili peppers and begin mixing and stirring all together.
  13. Add approximately one cup of the pasta water you kept to one side and stir more.
  14. Alternately add a little of the Pecorino (see the video) and gradually add more water - continuing to mix and stir the pasta. Repeat a few times.
  15. When the spaghetti is cooked aldente, stop adding water.
  16. Turn off the heat and add a little more of the Pecorino cheese and amalgamate together - as the video demonstrates.
  17. Serve and eat straight away while it is still hot from the pan.

A Tavola!

Served at table.  We had ours over Christmas holidays. after all the rich foods we wanted something simple - and Italian.
Served at table. We had ours over Christmas holidays. after all the rich foods we wanted something simple - and Italian. | Source

Spaghetti with Garlic Chili Peppers and Pecorino Cheese

Plate of spaghetti with chili peppers, garlic and Pecorino cheese
Plate of spaghetti with chili peppers, garlic and Pecorino cheese | Source

Did you know?

The Italian word mantecare or matecato means 'to mix and stir and amalgamate' as the video shows.

When you make this easy Italian dish you need to manticare well! It is the secret of this recipe.

Pasta Bowls

Reco White Individual Pasta, Set of 4
Reco White Individual Pasta, Set of 4

Classic, white and simple pasta bowls

 

How Italians Make Spaghetti Recipes

Making a plate of pasta in Italy is not just about plonking a sauce over some pasta.

The sauce and the pasta are made to go with each other, to be mixed and combined (mantecato) until the pasta is well coated with the sauce in a way which compliments the type of pasta (noodle, short pasta, mini pasta shapes) and the type of sauce which is best for it. Spaghetti is never overcooked.

This dish is probably going to be very simple the second time you try it out; once you've experienced mixing (mantecare) semi-cooked spaghetti with the ingredients of this tasty, creamy, spicy, cheesy sauce until both the spaghetti and the sauce are properly married together in pasta harmony! That doesn't mean it won't be amazing the first time though.

Here are some helpful suggestions for confidence for when you try this recipe for this easy Italian dish of spaghetti with chili peppers garlic and Pecorinio - that very first time:

  • Add the water you held back very gradually to the mixing spaghetti (with chilli and garlic in the pan).
  • Keep the heat under the pan with the garlic, chili peppers and extra virgin olive oil on medium
  • In order not to have gummy pasta in the pan, don't overdo mixing in the cheese before you turn the heat off. You can add it at the last moment.
  • You'll be mixing and amalgamating (mantecare) until the time is up on the spaghetti packet, so get ready to be mixing for those few minutes and don't stop till the minutes are up and the spaghetti is cooked aldente.

Buon appetito!


© 2012 Penelope Hart

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    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 3 years ago from Rome, Italy

      It's simple, economic, truly tasty and a fantastic alternative to festive meals so I do hope you enjoy it. Best wishes for the holidays!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

      You caught me in a spaghetti mood - literally, I was just thinking of spaghetti an hour or so ago! I'm not sure I can pull together the ingredients for this great version with what I have on hand, but I'm going to remember it for my trio to the store this week. I can at least learn from your techniques here.

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      You've got it europewalker! Many thanks.

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 4 years ago

      Spaghetti looks delicious, love the video. I will be making this for dinner today. I don't care for any kind of marinara sauce on spaghetti so these recipes are perfect!

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Cycling did a great job! Enjoy your spaghetti. Nice to be in touch again and thanks for dropping in.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Mouth is still watering after watching your video! This is simplicity itself but I bet its SO flavourful! I am definitely giving this a try. I have not been receiving emails about your new hubs due to some sort of glitch or I would have made this a few weeks ago :o) By the way, CyclingFitness did a cracking job with the interview of you, great read!

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Vespawolf. Nice aldente pasta with its very own sauce is definitely the Italian way. Sure you'll like this. My son brought the recipe and way to make it with him when he came to visit after a few months working in Calabria. We loved it!

      Natashahl. Dare I suggest using Parmesan if you can't find Pecorino? Maybe that would work too. It's all about being simple quick and using what's in hand. Of course they have Pecorino in Calabria!!!! Enjoy.

      Thanks so much for commenting. Appreciated.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Mmmmm, pecorino! I don't see it much in the States, but I love it. I defintly want to try this recipe.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'm so hungry for pasta after watching your video! This is a fabulous hub, from the video to the photos to the recipes. I enjoyed the section of how Italians make their spaghetti, and that it's not overly cooked pasta drowned in sauce. I've bookmarked this recipe...can't wait to try it! Thanks so much.

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Buon appetito Alicia!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This dish sounds very tasty, GoodLady. I don't eat spaghetti very often, but this is a meal that I'm looking forward to trying! The combination of flavors sounds lovely.

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Travmaj. Noticed you're an Italianite so I'm pleased you found and like this purely Italian meal.

      Om. You really do love cooking. Sounds are a part if it, music to a cooks ear. So pleased you popped in to comment.

      Thank you. Appreciated greatly.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Looks delicious as I'm sure it is. I am definitely going to try it asap. Many thanks-

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

      Looks delightfully simple. I'm sure it's delicious! I also like that the sound of your spatulas against the skillet is quite audible in the video. Cooking sounds are music to my ears! LOL

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Beth100. Yea! So pleased to learn that the descriptions work and you made a super pasta dish from them. I was worried. Thank you so much for coming back and for your thumbs up and stars!!! Nice comments. Greatly appreciated .

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Hope you really enjoy this tasty meal. Glad the video is helpful. Thanks.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      This looks great and I love the video. Thank you for sharing.

    • drosostalitsa profile image

      drosostalitsa 4 years ago from Greece

      It looks delicious! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 4 years ago from Canada

      This is divine!! I tried it last night -- 5 stars and two thumbs up!! For anyone "thinking" about it -- take the plunge -- it's fabulous!!

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      This is a dream pasta dish for people who like garlic and chili peppers - obviously you're one of us.

      Many thanks for your comment.

    • tulika4321 profile image

      Rita Bose 4 years ago from Kolkata,India

      Wow-Yummy!! Looks delicious!! You are indeed a GoodLady!! :P

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      It's yummy, thanks!

    • Free2seethemoon profile image

      Free2seethemoon 4 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      Yum! Looks tasty.

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Hope you manage to get everyone sitting down at the same time because it's brilliant hot off the cooker! If not, enjoy Susan.

      Thank you for kind comment.

    • GoodLady profile image
      Author

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Yea!!! Hope you really really love it. We do! So great of you to make such an enthusiastic comment.

      Thank you very much.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 4 years ago from Canada

      Oh my!!! This looks delicious!!! I love simple but flavorful recipes. I will be giving this a try... tonight!!! :)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Oh my this looks so good! The only problem I'll have is getting everyone to sit down at the same time to enjoy this dish. More for me then I suppose :)