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Garlic and Oil Pasta (Spaghetti Aglio e Olio) Recipe

Chef Danielle Miele , On January 13, 2023

Garlic and Oil Pasta recipe is the equivalent of the Italian Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe that originates in the Naples region of Italy.

This easy garlic and oil pasta recipe is the same as the traditional spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe that originates in the Naples region of Italy. This is a basic yet comforting, hearty dish. It is nourishing, easy to make, and is made with affordable and easy to of find ingredients that are always on hand in my kitchen. Fresh garlic is essential to this garlic and oil pasta recipe. When purchasing garlic, look for heads that feel tight to the touch and are mostly white in color. If the cloves feel hollow or too papery, or there’s any black visible, it could be an old and moldy head. The tightest heads of garlic are at their freshest and the cloves will be fragrant and perfect for this garlic and oil pasta recipe.

Equipment needed to make this traditional spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe:

  • 1 large pot

  • Colander

  • Knife and chopping surface

Ingredients needed to make this traditional spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe:

pasta recipe ingredients

Ingredients for this spaghetti aglio e olio recipe.

Makes 2 portions 
  • 1/2 lb linguine style pasta or whatever spaghetti you have on hand

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1 C broth (vegetable broth, beef broth, or chicken broth)

  • 1 C reserve pasta liquid

  • 1 pat of butter cut into small dice or cubes

  • 1/4 C grated or shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese, whichever is your preference or whatever you have on hand

Instructions to make this traditional spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe:

  1. Bring a large saucepan filled with water and seasoned with a heaping handful of salt to a boil. Cook the pasta until slightly al dente. Al dente literally means ‘to the tooth’ in Italian. The pasta should be slightly undercooked, and will still be slightly firm, or uncooked in the middle when you bite into it. Also, reserve a cup of the cooking liquid just before draining. This starchy water is perfect for adding body to the pasta sauce or to add additional liquid to a sauce once it’s been made if it’s too thick. Drain the pasta and keep warm with a cover over your colander.

  2. Thinly slice the four cloves of garlic and set aside.

    slice garlic

    Thinly Slice Garlic and Set Aside

  3. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, when you can actually smell the garlic’s perfume. Sprinkle in some red pepper flakes if you like your pasta on the spicy side.

    slice garlic

    Add garlic to the pan and fry.

  4. Add the stock to the sauté pan and bring to a rolling simmer. Allow to cook for 5 minutes or so until the stock has reduced and therefore thickened.

  5. Add the pasta to the simmering liquid and incorporate. Allow the pasta to simmer in this liquid for a couple of minutes. The al dente pasta will finish cooking by absorbing the fragrant liquid, and in turn, flavor the pasta fully.

  6. Finish your saucy pasta mix by slowly adding a bit of the pasta liquid. If the pasta has really absorbed most of the sauce and you want more sauce, simply add more pasta water. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.

    slice garlic

    Add pasta to the pan and toss.

  7. To serve, give the traditional spaghetti aglio e olio recipe a good stir and plate. Sprinkle with a generous amount of grated cheese, a final dusting of cracked black pepper, and minced parsley for extra flavor and a gorgeous pop of color.

    slice garlic

    Pasta aglio e olio recipe topped with grated parmesan cheese.

  8. Serve this easy garlic and oil spaghetti recipe as a side dish or pair this traditional spaghetti aglio e olio recipe with your favorite protein like a flank steak recipe, or shredded chicken.

Chef Danielle Miele

Chef Miele started in the industry as a chef's assistant back in the early 1990s at a New England style seafood shack. After several stints in the industry she earned a formal chef's degree with honors from Le Cordon Bleu. When she is not cooking for her husband and teenage son, she enjoys researching techniques and ingredients from different cultures, with a focus on enhanced flavor and nutrition.