Pasta With Garlic And Olive Oil

Pasta With Garlic And Olive Oil

Pasta with garlic and olive oil, or pasta aglio e olio, is a classic and simple Italian dish. Traditionally this dish only has two ingredients in the sauce, garlic and olive oil. We prefer to parmigiano reggiano and parsley or anchovies and parsley. We usually throw in a pepperoncini for good measure.

The Garlic

Roughly chop the garlic into chunks. Do not chop it finely or it will burn. The base to pasta with garlic and olive oil is delicately scenting the oil. By gently boiling the garlic in the oil we’re infusing notes of garlic into every single bite. The flavors will disperse evenly without being overpowering or bitter. The garlic should have a blonde color and be very shiny when it’s done boiling in the oil. Be sure to raise and lower the pan from the heat as needed and completely remove the pan from heat shortly before the garlic is done in order to slow the cooking process. If you’re nervous about burning the garlic, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan. You can choose to remove the garlic entirely or add it back in the sauce once the oil has cooled. If the garlic does burn you’ll have to start over as the oil is unsalvagable. As a rule of thumb, never leave a stovetop unattended while starting any pasta sauces that invoice olive oil and garlic.

The Parsley

If you have a bunch of parsley and aren’t a fan of the stems now is their time to shine! About 30s before you cut the heat from the garlic add the parsley stems and watch them sizzle away. Once you cut the heat you can remove the stems then add the parsley leaves. Parsley in this dish is really nonegotiable. It leans a freshness that cannot be beaten and the color is so pretty.

Pasta With Garlic And Olive Oil Recipe

Collect all of your ingredients mise en place. There are like 4 ingredients in this recipe, this is not the time to leave any chopping until the last minute because your garlic will burn and you’ll have to start all over again! Everything should be ready to grab and make sure you have all of your cooking utensils out and ready, no digging into drawers cause this one is going to be quick.

Pasta With Garlic And Olive Oil is a typical Italian ‘simple’ dish made with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, and optional peperoncino and anchovies. We eat this regularly at home and like to think of it as an easier (and healthier) ‘Mac and Cheese’. Pasta Aglio e Olio brings back that nostalgia of being a kid. It’s the perfect dish to make if you’re on a time crunch, low on groceries, or simply craving some comfort food.

Pasta Aglio e Olio is salty, oily (in a good way), and can be elevated with either peperoncini (spicy peppers) or anchovies. If you choose to add anchovies there’s no need to add cheese. Remember in Italian cooking fish and cheese usually don’t go together.

Using high-quality olive oil is extremely important because the oil is the backbone of this dish and the vehicle in which the flavors of garlic/anchovies/peperoncini are delivered. Don’t be light-handed with the extra virgin olive oil and definitely don’t be afraid to use the good stuff because that’s where the flavors are!

Pasta With Garlic And Olive Oil

Pasta With Garlic And Olive Oil, perfect for a weeknight meal. You'll need extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley, and pasta.

Course First Course, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword garlic
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author EXAU Olive Oil


  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 350 grams spaghetti
  • 4 cloves garlic (smashed or roughly chopped)
  • 4 sprigs finely chopped parsley
  • 1 medium calabrian peperoncino or other spicy pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan (optional)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil. Add about 1 tbsp salt. The water should taste seasoned but not overly salty.

  2. In a small pan gently toast bread crumbs in a little bit of olive oil (optional)

  3. Using the side of a knife smash the garlic cloves. Or chop each clove into 2-3 large chunks.

  4. In a large pan add olive oil, garlic, parsley, and calabrian pepper. Place on medium or medium-low heat. Cook for 2 minutes or until the garlic has just started to change to a golden color. Remove from heat.

  5. Add pasta to the water, stir every 2 minutes. Cook until 3 minutes before ‘al dente’ (see package). Reserve 1 to 2 cups pasta water.

  6. Shortly before the pasta is ready add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the large pan and bring to a boil. Strain then add the pasta and stir continuously. As the water begins to evaporate add more reserved pasta water. Continue to stir.

  7. Cook the pasta for an additional 3 minutes or until its reached the desired consistency. Cut the heat then add the cheese. Stir.

  8. Plate immediately, top with breadcrumbs, and serve!


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Anna

    So the garlic stays whole? Or is it minced or…?

    1. Skyler Mapes

      Ciao Anna!
      We usually smash the garlic with the side of the knife and keep it semi-whole. Or we slice it into 2 or 3 large pieces. Keeping the garlic in large chunks lightly ‘scents’ the oil which is what we’re going for. The large pieces also keep the garlic from burning. If you want a hardcore, garlicky flavor you can chop it finely into small pieces but the garlic will burn very quickly so keep an eye on it. Hope that helps!
      -Skyler & Giuseppe

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