Bucatini with parmesan and garlic

This recipe shows how you can make a quality pasta dish in 10 minutes (i.e. in the time it takes the pasta to cook). It requires very little skill, and it only has 7 ingredients (including water, salt and pepper).


Serves: 2

Perfect for: Lazy cooks, someone who wants a quick fix.

Perfect when: You’re craving the classic carb and cheese combo.

Difficulty: 1/ 5

Cost: 1/ 5

Time : 1/ 5

Why it works:

  • The pasta water helps create a beautiful sauce with the parmesan and the butter.



  • This is a combination of two classic pasta dishes: Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper) and Aglio e Olio (garlic and oil). I felt that all these would work well together, and so it did.

  • You can add a pangrattato (a fried breadcrumb topping) to improve the texture. Simply fry some breadcrumbs in butter and olive oil, season and add a pinch of garlic powder or lemon zest.

  • Pecorino Romano can be used in place of parmesan. This is a more mild, slightly creamier cheese.


  • 250g of long pasta (Bucatini was used here)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 small or 3 large cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 generous handfuls of parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pasta: Put the pasta in salted boiling water. Cook until al dente (often 2 minutes less than packet instructions). Save at least a mug of the cooking water (remove at the end of cooking).
  2. Sauce: Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. Fry until the garlic is fragrant, but not coloured.
  3. Combine: Place the pasta into the pan with the butter, and turn the heat to high. Add enough of the cooking water to form a thin layer on the bottom, and a pinch of salt to taste. Stir and add the parmesan. Keep on stirring until enough of the water has been absorbed and a thick sauce remains. Taste and and more seasoning if desired. Serve immediately with extra cheese on top. Demolish!

Extra detail/ Insight

  1. Italian food traditionalists say the pasta water should taste like sea. Taste the water before boiling, it should taste well seasoned, but still be palatable. The mug of starchy pasta water helps to thicken the sauce.
  2. It is best not to let the garlic colour as this will produce a slightly different, bitter taste. It is important to add plenty of pepper, you want a strong kick from it.
  3. Cooking the pasta with the sauce infuses the pasta with the sauce and “marries” the two together.





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