Spaghetti aglio e olio is an easy, yet impressive, pasta dinner that is made with just a few simple ingredients like fresh garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes. Enjoy the classic Italian dish in just 20 minutes with kitchen items you probably already have on hand!
This is the easiest dinner ever! It’s so simple, so comforting, and so embarrassingly low-key that I feel almost foolish sharing it. But! When a recipe is this good and this simple, it has to be shared! With as many people as possible. If you can boil water, you can make spaghetti aglio e olio!
Ingredients for this recipe
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Cloves
- Red Pepper Flakes
And that is it! I don’t know about you, but I have those ingredients in my kitchen at all times. And when hunger strikes but motivation is lacking I turn to this easy pasta dinner again and again.
How to make Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- Cook the pasta. To al dente. In a pot of salty water. So salty it should almost taste like the ocean!
- Cook the garlic in the olive oil. While the pasta cooks. If you used roasted garlic I wouldn't hate you.
- Transfer the pasta to the garlic oil. Use a pair of tongs to grab the spaghetti noodles right out of the water and place them into the pan with the garlic and oil. Don’t bother with the draining and don’t you dare rinse the pasta!
- Stir to coat. Get all that garlicky goodness over every noodle.
- Add red pepper. Just a pinch. It makes the whole dish! (But yes, can be omitted if you detest spice.)
- Serve. Immediately. Maybe with a nice glass of sparkling wine. That’s what we do!
What does “Al Dente” mean?
Many recipes will require the pasta to be cooked “al dente.” This means that the noodles aren’t totally soft. (In my opinion, they should never be totally soft. Who wants to eat mush?)
Al dente literally translates from Italian to “to the tooth.” This means the pasta will still have a little bit of bite and firmness to it. I can thank my two years of Italian classes for teaching me that!
And for teaching me the simple joys of this garlic and oil pasta! I sure hope you enjoy this easy and delicious dinner. There really is nothing like it.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- Pasta Pot
- Large Skillet
- 1 pound dry spaghetti noodles
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt to taste
- Cook the spaghetti to al dente in a large pot of heavily salted water.
- When the pasta only has a minute or two left, heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 60 – 90 seconds.
- Use a pair of tongs to transfer the al dente pasta to the skillet. Toss to coat in all the oil and garlic goodness. Sprinkle in a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Serve aglio e olio immediately with an extra pinch of red pepper flakes on top, if desired.
- The red pepper flakes can be omitted from the recipe if you don’t like spice.
- Try a squeeze of lemon or a dusting of freshly grated parmesan on top of the pasta, if desired.