I consider this the simplest and most basic of all pasta sauces, one that every body should know how to prepare. A dried chili adds a little bite and I must confess although I have been informed sternly that this is highly unorthodox, I like to add chopped parsley and grated Parmigiano cheese if it's on hand. Since the ingredients are so few it is really important that they all be of excellent quality.
• 200 grams spaghetti (I recommend artisan pasta such as Rustichella d'Abruzzo)
• 2 to 3 cloves garlic peeled and lightly smashed with the flat of a knife
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 whole dried chili, such as arbol
• 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, over medium-low heat, gently brown the garlic in two tablespoons of oil. When the garlic is golden and aromatic on both sides add the chili and the parsley and let them both fry and flavor the oil. If you want the pasta on the spicy side, crumble the chili into the oil. For a milder sauce leave the chili whole. Be careful not to scorch or overheat the olive oil. Add the final two tablespoons olive oil and remove from the heat and reserve. When the water comes to a boil cook the pasta. When pasta is done, drain and toss immediately with the oil-garlic mix. If so desired sprinkle a little grated Parmigiano cheese on. Serve and eat immediately.
To read Sara's story about the early stages of opening a restaurant that will specialize in dried pasta, click here.