Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a classic and delicious Italian dish that is made with pasta, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and Parmesan. It takes no time at all to whip up 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 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.
Here are 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
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- Sprinkling of fresh basil or fresh parsley optional
- Parmesan cheese
Making this garlic and olive pasta is very easy. It has only a couple steps and you will be on your way to a delicious dinner.
If you have 15 minutes then you can make this dish.
Here are the steps to make this pasta:
How simple is that! It literally is cooked in the time it takes to cook your pasta. I just love the simplicity of this dish and that it tastes so amazing even though it is made in minutes.
Adding vegetables to your Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
Now we will often eat this dish on its own but we also like to add in vegetables to make it a more complete meal. This makes a great base to so many veggies.
Our favorite additions to this really simple garlic and olive oil pasta are spinach and kale. I also love adding Arugula.
Any leafy green will taste great added to this pasta. If you want to try adding some into your pasta just add it the end when you are tossing your pasta in the sauce.
I also like to add roasted vegetables. You can pretty much add whatever veggies you have on hand. If you do choose to add in non leafy green veggies then you will want to find a way to cook them ahead of time.
I love adding my charred broccoli to this pasta. The flavors of roasted broccoli go so well with this garlic and olive oil pasta.
Thanks to this easy Italian garlic spaghetti recipe, you will never have to worry about what meal you are going to eat after vacation or when you are low on ingredients.
This meal is so delicious despite its simplicity and should be part of your cooking repertoire instead of ordering out!
Tips for making the best Aglio e Olio:
- You always want to make sure you add pasta water to the pasta. When you add your cooked pasta to the olive oil and garlic you will be cooking and tossing it around for a couple minutes. During this time the pasta is drinking up the liquids in the pan. Having some reserved pasta water on hand allows you to add some moisture back into the pasta dish when this happens.
- Always cook your pasta very al dente for this recipe. This means draining your pasta about 1 minute before al dente. Check your pasta brand and the manufacturers instructions for what they say the time is for al dente. The reason for making sure it is very al dente is you want to give your pasta a couple minutes to cook in the olive oil and garlic sauce that you made and absorb all those delicious flavors. This is how you have a very flavorful Aglio e Olio.
- Make sure you use good quality ingredients. This really helps in recipes with only a few ingredients. For the Parmesan, make sure it is from Italy. For the pasta, make sure it is a good brand.
For More Easy Pasta Recipes:
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- 1 box of spaghetti or thin spaghetti
- 1 cup of reserved pasta water see directions below
- ½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 5 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes don't worry it wont be spicy!
- freshly grated black pepper for serving
- kosher salt for pasta water
- 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 low heat, add your olive oil and red pepper flakes.
- Next add your garlic and simmer your garlic making sure not to let it brown but just get nice and soft. If it looks like it is getting brown then remove it from the heat until your pasta is ready to be cooked.
- Once your garlic is simmering 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 (pasta water should be salty like ocean water). Add 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. Add half of it now and reserve half for later.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to your sauté 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).
- When you see the pan looking dry and not too much sauce remaining, add a little bit 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. Make sure to
- Now add a sprinkle of your Parmesan Cheese.
- Plate your pasta in 4 large bowls topping each with a good sprinkling of the remaining fresh Parmesan and serve with fresh ground black pepper on the side.