Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Simple Italian Spaghetti with Garlic & Olive Oil

Here's the recipe for the classic Italian spaghetti side dish, Spaghetti e Aglio e Olio, Spaghetti with Garlic & Olive Oil. It's a new recipe for me but is ever-so-useful because it can be cooked ahead of time and then served later, still perfectly fresh and moist. Oh yes. And garlicky, a very very garlicky good thing.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio ♥ Simple Italian spaghetti with garlic and olive oil.

Whole Food, Simply Prepared. "Plain" But Perfect. Real Food, Fresh & Comforting. Mere Minutes to the Table. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.

Say Ciao ...

... to a simple Italian pasta side dish that meal-wise is handy to have in your back pocket but taste-wise is so unforgettable, it just might take up residence in a front pocket.

Why so handy?

Just make the pasta and then think time shift. Either way, the pasta tastes fresh-from-the-pot good.

  • SERVE ON THE SPOT While waiting on the rest of supper, say, keep the pasta warm on the stove to serve only minutes later.
  • MAKE AHEAD OF TIME For a make-ahead meal, refrigerate to serve hours later, then just rewarm in a skillet.

Why unforgettable?

  • Think garlick-y salty pasta, cloaked in just enough olive oil to make it soft and drapey.
  • Think Delizioso!

The recipe isn’t really a recipe, it’s all technique.

But don’t worry, the technique is new-cook simple. Here’s how it goes:

  • Cook some pasta.
  • Sizzle some garlic in oil.
  • Toss ‘em together with some hot pasta water, just enough to keep it all moist.
  • If you’re in the mood, stir in some red pepper flakes and fresh herbs.

You can definitely do that, right?! So get to it, then serve and savor!

And Buon Appetito!

Hungry Yet?
Time to Feast: An Italian Menu

Red Pepper Crostini
Italian Lemon Chicken
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
(recipe below)
Seared Radicchio
Salad Greens with a Light Vinaigrette Parmesan Slivers
Crostata Della Nonna (Easy-Easy Jam Tart)

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If a simple Italian pasta hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio ♥ Simple Italian spaghetti with garlic and olive oil.

(Italian Spaghetti with Garlic & Olive Oil)

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 6
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 6 ounces dried pasta, preferably Italian, such as spaghetti, capellini, angel hair or another thin strip (see TIPS)
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed flat
  • Cooked Pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Hot Pasta Water
  • Garlicky Olive Oil
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley or other herbs, optional

COOK THE PASTA In a large pot, bring the water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the pasta, cover and let cook until pasta is "al dente" – not quite done – adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, not allowing to boil over.

GARLICKY OLIVE OIL Meanwhile, in a skillet large enough to hold the pasta once it’s cooked, heat the olive oil on medium low heat until shimmery. Add the garlic and let cook slowly, barely sizzling and just until golden brown. Remove the garlic and transfer the oil to a small bowl, set this aside.

TO FINISH When the pasta is cooked, use tongs to lift the long strands out of the pot into a colander to drain briefly, then drop into the still-hot skillet. (The point is to RESERVE the Hot Pasta Water and keep it hot.)

Stir the 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt into the skillet, stirring the pasta around, coating it with the Garlicky Olive Oil left in the skillet. Add a tablespoon or two of the Hot Pasta Water to keep the pasta moist until serving time.

If useful, you may pause here for up to an hour or so. When ready to serve, rewarm the pasta, adding more hot pasta water if needed.

JUST BEFORE SERVING, stir in a tablespoon of the Garlicky Olive Oil and the red pepper flakes. Taste and decide if you want to add more oil. Stir in the parsley and transfer to a serving dish.

Drizzle with more garlic oil if desired.

ALANNA’s TIPS Quality ingredients are important when a recipe is this simple. My favorite brands of dried Italian pasta are De Cecco and Barilla. If you find a little green germ inside the garlic cloves, cut it away and discard. We don’t need bitter garlic! This pasta begs for a little adaptation. At the last minute, maybe stir in some frozen peas or strips of fresh spinach or a few tiny slices of tomato or maybe tiny bits of goat cheese or some pine nuts or a few currants or dried apricots or … let your imagination guide!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (assumes 6), when made with 2/3/4 tablespoons garlic oil: 143/163/183 Calories; 5/7/9g Tot Fat; 0/1/1g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 397mg Sodium; 21g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Sorry, due to technical issues during a laptop conversion, Weight Watchers points will be updated later. This recipe has been Alanna-sized with reductions in portion size and fat.

More Italian Recipes

~ Italian recipes ~
Chicken Cacciatore ♥, the classic Italian dish, often called Hunter's Stew. Chicken in a wine-savory tomato sauce, one of my very oldest recipes.

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables ♥, barely roasted, big chunks meant for casual sharing. Vegan. WW Friendly. Low Carb.

Leek Sauce for Pasta, another Quick Supper ♥, gently flavored leek sauce, dreamy for pasta. Just Five Ingredients, Just One Pot. Vegetarian.

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Marilyn1/19/2010

    Happy New Year! I have been doing this for years. But I heat my oil, with hot chilli flakes and garlic in the microwave and toss the hot pasta with it. I always add grated Parmesan cheese. It makes a great side dish for BBQ and buffets. In our bulk section, you can buy roasted tomatoes linguini pasta and the color of it goes great with the cheese as an attractive side dish.

    Love your blog. I have started one and find that it is a lot of fun.

  2. This is a holiday staple in my family. We make two versions, the basic aglio e olio (we say "alley oley") and also ai alici, with anchovies. It's the ultimate comfort food for me.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna