Spaghetti Aglio E Olio

When it comes to simplicity in the kitchen, Italians are the ones to lean toward. Well, at least I think so. They have so many simple dishes that are absolutely delicious and yet very few but really good ingredients.

Like this dish for example…. You cook garlic and red pepper in olive oil, low and slow, and toss it with pasta and it turns into a silky and delicious pasta dish that is something simply amazing. While the exact origin of this dish is always murky and some say it originated in either Naples or Abruzzo, Where ever this beautiful dish originated I am 100% sure they knew exactly what they were doing with this dish.

So, Let’s get into this simple recipe.

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio


1 pkg spaghetti pasta
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic- finely minced or grated
1/4 cup parsley – chopped
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 tbsp bread crumbs ( optional)
zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
pasta water


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add about 1 tbsp of salt.
  2. In the meantime in a large skillet over low heat add your oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon zest if using and stir to combine. Let this cook on low for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
  4. When the garlic starts to sizzle add about 1 ladle full of pasta water to the oil mixture. This will help slow down the cooking process and prevent the garlic from burning.
  5. When the pasta is done add the pasta to the oil mixture and toss to coat well. If the pasta needs more liquid add more pasta water 1 ladle full at a time. The pasta should be slightly coated in the olive oil and pasta water. It should not be a soupy consistency.
  6. Add the bread crumbs if using and toss to coat adding in a slight amount of pasta water if needed. You can add salt and pepper to taste and toss again. Making sure that the pasta does not dry out and stays slightly saucy.
  7. Place the pasta in your serving dish and serve. You can top with more bread crumbs if you would like. If you have the urge to top it with cheese, which this dish doesn’t really call for cheese, you can grate over some pecorino cheese.
  • The red pepper flakes, bread crumbs, and lemon zest are all optional as well as the cheese. I wouldn’t recommend adding parmesan cheese however, you do you and if that is what you like then you go for it. I would recommend using a more milder cheese like pecorino. I find that it complements the dish very well.
  • If you do not have spaghetti you can use any other type of long pasta you prefer.

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