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Fergal Phillips

My lockdown food saviour: Guy Sinnott's Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino

The ultimate comfort food


Ahead of the release of the brand new April edition of FOOD&WINE (available this Sunday, April 4 free with the Business Post newspaper), Guy Sinnott shares his favourite pasta recipe.

Many of us have turned to food during this pandemic to get us through. Whether it be stress baking, at-home meal kits or supporting your local takeaway with a Friday night treat for yourself – food helps. But it was one food group, in particular, that seemed to really surge at the beginning of lockdown: pasta. It made sense given that pasta is the ultimate comfort food. Now, over 365 days later, pasta continues to bring us solace – but thankfully, the supermarkets are back in full supply and there's no longer a need to fight over the last packet of fusilli. 

For Guy Sinnott, music publicist and Instagram cook, pasta – and cooking in general – has been a great source of comfort over the past twelve months. In our April edition of FOOD&WINE, which will be available this Sunday, April 4 free with the Business Post newspaper, Sinnott chats to Emma Blanchfield on how food became his lockdown saviour. Be sure to pick up your copy of the magazine on Sunday, April 4 to read the full article (or click here to subscribe online) with Sinnott, Sarah Breen, Peter Burke and Jules Mak of Hush Restaurant and Una Leonard of 2210 Patisserie.

In the meantime, however, enjoy this recipe courtesy of Guy Sinnott for his famous spaghetti with garlic and oil. 

Guy Sinnott's Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino (Spaghetti with Garlic & Oil)

"This classic Italian ‘late night’ pasta dish uses only a few ingredients that you probably have in your cupboard already."


  • 80-100g spaghetti per person
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • Small bunch, finely diced
  • Chilli flakes
  • Pinch lemon, optional
  • Butter, optional


  1. Start by putting your pasta into salted boiling water: you don’t have to use a lot of water. It’s actually beneficial to use a smaller amount of water as the pasta releases starch as it cooks and it is this starchy pasta water that helps create the magic in the sauce and bring the flavours together. Cook according to the packet's instruction but once the water returns to the boil we want to undercook spaghetti by 1 minute on the pack and finish cooking in the pan. Just shy of “al dente” is the aim.
  2. Slice your garlic very thinly across the cloves, aim for 0.5cm thickness. You want to use a lot of garlic and large slices are actually less pungent than a fine dice.
  3. Heat a big glug of olive oil on a medium heat and add garlic. The garlic should start to sizzle, be careful here as we don’t want the garlic to burn. Watch that it doesn’t turn too brown. If you want to be careful you can start cooking the garlic in cold oil and turn the heat on.
  4. Add a good pinch of chilli flakes and stir fast incorporating into the garlic and oil.
  5. Now add the parsley. Again stir in to incorporate. Always be mindful that the garlic doesn’t burn.
  6. Add a ladle of the pasta water the spaghetti is cooking in to the pan with garlic and oil, this will stop the cooking process so the garlic won’t burn.
  7. Using tongs, add the spaghetti directly from pot to the pan and start mixing and moving around so it absorbs the oil. If it looks a little dry add another ladle of pasta water and keep mixing. The starchy pasta water combined with the oil emulsifies so you don’t end up with a greasy sauce.
  8. You will see that the sauce has thickened up and the spaghetti will have a glossy texture. Look for the sauce dragging slowly away on the pan using your tongs or fork. This is how you know it’s ready.
  9. It’s not exactly traditional however at this point I like to add a small knob of butter (improves the richness and consistency) and a squeeze of lemon juice for some acidity to balance the dish.
  10. Serve immediately! This isn’t a dish you cook in advance. It is something cheap, simple and delicious that is perfect for a weeknight, ready in only 15 minutes.
  11. Sit back, relax and impress your friends while pretending you learned this from your Italian grandmother you forgot to tell them about.

TOP TIP: It is worth spending an extra euro on a decent brand, look for pasta with a rough texture rather than smooth, the sauce will cling to the spaghetti better. 

For more delicious recipes like this one, be sure to follow Guy on Instagram: @guysinnott

Be sure to pick up your copy of FOOD&WINE Magazine in stores this Sunday free
with the Business Post newspaper or ​subscribe at businesspost.ie/select-plan for
digital access to read FOOD&WINE Magazine online, as well as the Business Post, Irish Tatler and more - only €1 for the first month.

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