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Spaghetti Aglio e Olio ( Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil)

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio ( Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil)

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a classic and delicious Italian dish that is made with pasta, garlic, olive oil, pepper and Parmesan. It takes no time at all to whip up this dish and it can easily be made with just staples in your fridge and pantry.  

In our house we call this “emergency pasta” or “Italian Fast Food” because it is our go to dish when we are in a rush or just need a quick meal to make because we are too tired to cook a big meal.  We often use this dish as the meal we return home to after a long vacation as well because pasta, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan are all things that we can leave in our house (or fridge in the case of the cheese) and they are still good when we return home.  

The ingredients you will need for this Aglio e Olio recipe are:

  • spaghetti or thin spaghetti
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes 
  • a healthy amount of fresh ground black pepper for plating
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • sprinkling of fresh basil or fresh parsley optional
  • Parmesan cheese

This makes a really great weeknight dish that is fast a tasty. It also makes a great base for some roasted Italian veggies.

Thanks to this easy Italian garlic spaghetti recipe, we never worry about what meal are going to eat after vacation when we have an emptied out fridge and are too tired to grocery shop after traveling.

This meal is so delicious despite its simplicity and should be part of your cooking repertoire instead of ordering out!

For More Easy Pasta Recipes:

Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce Over Pasta

Easy Pesto Pasta

Pasta with Chickpeas Spinach and Lemon

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

A delicious simple Italian pasta dish that comes together in no time!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 box of spaghetti or thin spaghetti
  • 1 cup of reserved pasta water see directions below
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for pasta and the topping
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes don’t worry it wont be spicy!
  • sprinkling of fresh basil or fresh parsley optional
  • freshly grated black pepper for serving


  • For the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    While you are waiting for the water to boil for your pasta, finely mince up your garlic.
  • In a large saute pan over medium heat, add your olive oil and red pepper flakes.
  • Next add your garlic and turn down your heat to medium low and carefully simmer your garlic making sure not to let it brown but just get nice and soft.
  • Once your garlic is simmering, add a pinch of salt to sweat out some of that garlic flavor.  At this point, check your pasta water to see if your pasta is ready to go in to your large pot.
  • When ready throw a a good a big pinch of salt (I like my pasta water to be salty like ocean water into the water then your pasta and stir well so the pasta does not stick and cook it according to the box instructions for al dente.
  • After your pasta has been cooking for a minute, grab a coffee mug and scoop out a mug full of pasta water. You will need this to add to the saute pan later. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to your saute pan with the garlic, olive oil.
  • Mix it in well to coat all of your pasta with the yummy garlic and olive oil mixture. Keep cooking your pasta in the saute pan for a minute or two (you will notice the pasta will start to drink up that olive oil mixture).
  • Now add 1/4 cup of your Parmesan Cheese. Mix it all in to the pasta so you can start getting a creamy sauce forming.
  • When you see the pan looking dry and not too much sauce remaining, add a little bit (about an 1/8 of a cup of the reserved pasta water from the mug and mix for 1 more minute.
  • Now, turn off your heat and season to taste with salt and lots of pepper.
  • Plate your pasta in 4 large bowls topping each with a good sprinkling of the remaining fresh Romano cheese (or Parmesan) and serve with fresh ground black pepper on the side.
  • Enjoy!!

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