Recipe for
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (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.

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 handy? Just make the pasta and then think time shift. While waiting on the rest of supper, say, keep the pasta warm on the stove to serve only minutes later. For a make-ahead meal, refrigerate to serve hours later, then just rewarm in a skillet. Either way, the pasta tastes fresh-from-the-pot good.

Why unforgettable? Think garlick-y salty pasta, cloaked in just enough olive oil to make it soft and drapey. 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. Serve and savor! Buon Appetito!

ALANNA’s TIPS Quality ingredients are important when a recipe is this simple. My favorite brand of dried Italian pasta is De Cecco. If it’s not available nearby, De Cecco is sold on Amazon. (Please note: Product Disclosure) 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!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a simple side dish recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!

(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
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Hot pasta water
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley or other herbs, optional

In a large pot, bring water and salt to a boil. Add the pasta, cover and let cook until pasta is ‘al dente’ – not quite done.

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.

When the pasta is done, lift it out of the pot into a colander to drain briefly, then drop into the still-hot skillet. RESERVE the pasta water and keep hot. Stir in the kosher salt, then stir the pasta around, coating it with the oil left in the skillet. Add a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water to keep the pasta moist until serving time. (If needed, you may pause here for up to an hour or so. Rewarm the pasta, adding more water if needed.) Just before serving, stir in a tablespoon of 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.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE How many calories in Spaghetti Anglio e Olio? How many Weight Watchers points in Spaghetti Anglio e Olio?) Per Serving, 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 2/3/3 points This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in portion size and fat.

Time to Feast: An Italian Menu

Red Pepper Crostini

Italian Lemon Chicken
~ Spaghetti Aglio e Olio ~
(recipe above) or
Leek Sauce for Pasta
Seared Radicchio
~ Greens with a Light Vinaigrette and Slivers of Parmesan ~

Homemade Poppy Seed Cake
(okay so the cake recipe isn't Italian, but it is very good!)

More Italian Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Chicken Cacciatore Tiapinno (Ciopinno) - Italian Fish Stew Panzanella
~ more Italian recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade
Caponata - Sicilian Eggplant
Peperonata with Potatoes
Insalata di Finocchio aka Fennel Salad
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

© Copyright 2010 Kitchen Parade

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