Pasta Aglio E Olio

When it comes to spaghetti we tend to think red sauce, but that can get a little boring.  There's more than one way to prepare spaghetti!  Pasta Aglio E Olio, which translates as "spaghetti with garlic and oil" is a dead simple recipe.  You can count the basic ingredients on one hand!  ...  However, the basic recipe can be expanded on with a wide range of additional ingredients.


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook until al dente. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the pasta, such as a 12-inch saute pan or a large, shallow pot. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just begins to turn golden on the edges-don't overcook it! Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.

Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss. Off the heat, add the parsley and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with Parmesan on the side.

When it comes to additional ingredients, the sky is the limit.  Popular options include the addition of extra herbs like thyme to the sauce as it cooks.  You can also finish up by adding a squeeze of lemon with the parsley.  Then you can also add things like Parmesan cheese to the mix or cook shrimp in the sauce for some added flavor.