Spaghetti with olive oil, chilli & garlic

(a quick one for the holiday season)

This is one the most basic sauces in the Italian repertoire, but when done properly, it is a little masterpiece. You can replace the parsley with basil, or use some of each.

Serves 4


  • 400g spaghetti
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • A large handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely choppe
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt


  1. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a low heat, and fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to spread the flavour through the oil. Add 2 tbsp cooking water to the pan and stir in the chilli and parsley. Season with salt and cook for 3 minutes, mixing occasionally.
  3. When the spaghetti is ready, drain it quickly so it is still rather wet and add it to the sauce. Gently toss to coat, then leave for a minute over a low heat before serving on hot plates, topped with fresh thyme.

For more EVOO recipes from The Guardian, click here


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