Pasta with Garlic, Red Chili Pepper & Lime | ©

Pasta with Garlic, Red Chili & Lime

Use a thin pasta such as capellini, spaghettini or spaghetti for best results. While the pasta water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, prepare the aromatic olive oil sauce to toss the pasta in. For even faster results, boil water in the kettle and use it to get a head start on getting the pasta water to a boil. Don’t forget to reserve a half cup or so of the pasta cooking water so you can add some to the sauce!
Category Main Course
Keyword pasta, quick dinner
Servings 2 portions
Author © Marlene Cornelis/Urban Cottage Life, 2017


  • about 500 g pasta
  • 1 or 2 tbsp salt for the pasta water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chili pepper (1/4 to 1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes)
  • freshly ground pepper (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp, or to taste)
  • zest of one lime
  • spritz of fresh lime juice (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (a generous amount)

How To Make This Recipe

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. In the meantime, warm the olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Mince the garlic and red chili pepper, and add to the oil along with a good grinding of black pepper (you can be the judge of what "good" means, but I'd use at least 1/4 tsp). Turn the heat up slightly and stir the oil and aromatics mixture. The aim here is to infuse the flavour of the garlic and the chili into the oil, without letting either brown.
  2. When the pasta is cooked, remove a half cup of the cooking liquid and set aside. Drain the pasta, then add it to the skillet. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water to help loosen and distribute the sauce, then sprinkle on the lime zest. If you want some extra lime flavour, squeeze on a spritz of juice from half of the lime. Toss and turn the pasta with tongs until it's well coated with the oily sauce and the aromatics are well distributed.
  3. Plate the pasta, twisting with the tongs as you settle it on the plate to give it a little more height. Lavish a snowy grating of Parmesan cheese over top, and then tuck in to enjoy your quick and easy dinner.