Project Description

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Garlic and Oil)

This is the easiest pasta dish you will ever make. And it's from Naples just like my mom so you know it has to be good! You don't even need to open your refrigerator to make it. You do however need the freshest, highest quality ingredients you can find. There is nothing to this really but garlic and oil so if either ingredient is sub par, you will know it. If you stock your pantry right, you will always be prepared to make this dish. Garlic is the only perishable ingredient you will need to keep on hand. Luckily, it has a relatively long shelf life if you store it properly in a cool dry place. This is the perfect pasta to make if you are serving vegetarians or vegans. Trust yourself to season with salt and hot pepper according to what tastes good to you. Do the same with the pasta water. Add a splash at a time until the sauce fully coats the pasta and offers enough juice to suit your taste. We like a flavorful, wet spaghetti aglio e olio.


  • 5 - 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, heaping
  • Red pepper flake or chopped fresh hot pepper to taste
  • Salt
  • 1 pound of spaghetti (or linguine or thin spaghetti)
  • 1 cup of pasta water


  1. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil and then drop pasta in and turn with tongs or a wooden spoon
  2. Meanwhile in a small sauce pan, saute the garlic in olive oil over low heat for about 5 minutes or until it begins to color to just golden (do not allow to burn)
  3. Add the red pepper flake or fresh hot pepper if you have it
  4. Remove the oil and garlic from heat once the garlic is golden in color
  5. Reserving 1 cup of pasta water, drain the spaghetti when they are al dente (about a minute less than the directions on the box) and then add to serving bowl
  6. Add a splash of pasta water and a pinch of salt to the olive oil and dress pasta immediately, turning to incorporate the sauce into the spaghetti
  7. Serve immediately

Note: You can add a bit more pasta water to help incorporate the sauce into the spaghetti as needed. Only use what you need to make the pasta as wet or dry as you prefer. You can remove the garlic before serving if you like. The pieces should be big enough to avoid if you want to keep them in the dish but you don't want to eat them. Also, add hot pepper and salt according to your taste. Nothing else is needed in this dish.

Read the story behind the dish here! You might also like this pasta favorite.