Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a traditional Naples staple. Garlic is sautéd in olive oil and chili flakes before tossing with fresh cooked pasta. As delicious as this is, it is far too simple for me. Here I have combined the simple preparation of that dish with the added flavors of my beloved radiatori pepperoncini. The combination of techniques results in a highly flavorful and fully satisfying pasta dish that you can tweak to your own liking, by removing or adding ingredients at your whim.
1/2 lb fresh spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp chili flakes
5 pepperoncinis, sliced
1/4 cup fresh, diced tomato
6 oz torn or cubed roast chicken, skin removed
1/2 cup veal demi-glacé
a few tablespoons heavy cream (indeed)
1–2 oz grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or to your liking)
1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley
Cook the pasta and drain (saving a little pasta water if you prefer to use that over demi-glacé or stock.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil to hot, but not burning and add the garlic and chili flakes. Cook a minute or two, being careful not to let it brown.
Add the tomatoes and pepperoncini, then the chicken; cook another minute or two.
Add the demi-glacé (or stock or pasta water) and heavy cream.
Simmer a few minutes to thicken.
Stir in the pasta to coat and heat through.
Toss in 1/2 the parmesan and 1/2 the parsley to coat.
Divide amongst warm pasta bowls and garnish with the remaining parmesan and parsley.
For the pepperoncini, you could substitute fresh chopped chilis, such as jalapeño or you could use a roasted hot pepper, such as from the brand “Jeff’s Garden”.
For the chicken, you could also grill, poach or sauté fresh skinless, boneless chicken breast, or omit it altogether for a vegetarian meal.
I’ve also omitted the pepperoncini and used Nicoise olives instead if you prefer to keep it on the not-so-spicy side.