This is a classic, simple Italian pasta dish that is also amenable to a number of tasty variations and substitutions. The basic version of the recipe is presented here. It’s most likely Roman in origin, and I really learned this one while I was living there in the early nineties, but many of the regions of Italy have this dish or a close relative of it (Nonna Romilda cooked a similar version from Veneto). In Rome, this is said to be the dish to fix up when you come home from a night of drinking and need something quick and hearty to absorb some of that booze and right you a little. It cooks fast but it is tasty and never goes out of style.
1/2 pound spaghetti (spaghetti is the classic form for this dish, but other pastas are appropriate)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 pepperoncini (Italian spicy dried red peppers)–we usually use dried red Arbol chiles from New Mexico
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
Boil water with dashes of olive oil and salt in a pasta pot. When boiling add pasta and stir. When pasta is 5-6 minutes from being done, heat up olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is warm add garlic and chile. Stir. Saute for a few minutes until garlic is slightly softened to slightly toasted. Add 1/4 teaspoon or so salt and stir around. When pasta is al dente drain it then immediately add it to the skillet with the other ingredients and stir it around so that the sauce coats the pasta. Serve while hot and eat right away.