In an exclusive extract from his new cookbook Made at Home, Giorgio Locatelli suggests four classic store-cupboard pasta dishes that will never fail
Spaghetti four ways
These spaghettis are not just convenient, quick and easy dishes; they can also be seductively brilliant, a perfect example of how a dish can be so much more than a sum of its parts.
Each recipe makes enough for six. With the exception of the cacio e pepe, allow 1 litre of water to every 100g of pasta, and add a teaspoon of salt per litre of water. The quantity of pasta we seem to have settled on these days is around 70g per person, but anywhere between 70g and 100g is about right for these spaghettis, depending on how hungry you are and if you are eating anything else to follow.
1 Aglio, olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil and chilli)
Dont be scared to add three, four or five sliced cloves of garlic per person, and dont be shy with the chilli either; I would use a Scotch bonnet, seeds and all, but how hot you make it is up to you. Chillies in red and green are nice, too.
The real trick to this is to start with just a little extra virgin olive oil in a saut pan and put in your sliced garlic while the oil is still cold. Raise the temperature slowly and just before the garlic starts to fry, pull the pan off the heat, add a little more cold oil, then put it back on the heat. Keep doing this several times, adding a little more of the cold oil each time, so that you keep the temperature down and the garlic is not frying, but just infusing the maximum amount of its flavour into the oil before you put in the chilli.
Start cooking 500g of spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water, and slice your chilli (around a tablespoonful, or more if you prefer) and around 4 cloves of garlic about a millimetre thick.
You need around 200ml of good extra virgin olive oil, but start with a little of it, cold, in the pan. Put in your garlic, then keep taking the pan off the heat and adding a little more cold oil, then returning it to the heat so that you dont burn the garlic.
Once all the oil is in, you can let the garlic begin to take on a little bit of colour and put in your chopped chilli. Let it cook very briefly, stirring it into the garlic, then pull the pan from the heat and stir in a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking water from the pasta take care, as it may spit.
When the pasta is cooked but still al dente, lift it out and drain it, but keep back the cooking water.
Toss the pasta really well through the oil, garlic and chilli, adding a little more cooking water from the pasta if it is too dry, as you want the garlicky hot oil to really cling to the spaghetti, and serve straight away. If you like, you can toss through a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley and finish with some grated parmesan or pecorino.