Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe

Posted on Mar 16, 2024

Experience the Best of Italian Cuisine by Slurping Spaghetti Aglio E Olio

Aglio e Olio, simply translated as "garlic and oil," is a classic Italian pasta dish that speaks volumes with its simplicity. With just a handful of ingredients, namely garlic and olive oil, combined with spaghetti, it delivers a burst of flavour that's hard to resist.

Olive oil, a staple in Italian cooking, takes centre stage in this dish, infusing garlic with its rich essence. Originating from Naples, Aglio Olio holds its place as a beloved "primo" dish in Neapolitan cuisine. In Italian culinary tradition, "primo" refers to the first course, often comprising pasta or a main dish, embodying the essence of Aglio e Olio's rustic charm.

Curious about whipping up this dish at home? Dive into our recipe sections below for a step-by-step guide, along with the essential ingredients. You'll also find helpful tips on cooking the pasta to perfection and achieving that authentic taste. Feel free to adjust ingredient quantities to suit your preferences and make this dish your own! Let's go straight to the Olio e Aglio recipe!

Ingredients for Spaghetti Aglio Olio 

You will need the following ingredients to make a delicious plate of Aglio E Olio. 

• 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
• 4-8 thinly sliced cloves of garlic
• ½ cup olive oil
• Freshly ground black pepper and salt according to taste
• ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
• ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 10-12 cups of water (for boiling spaghetti)

How to Make Aglio Olio?

The spaghetti aglio E olio is one of the easiest pasta recipes. It’s known for its amazing flavour and is a favourite among no-sauce pasta eaters. So, follow the steps below to make spaghetti Aglio e Olio al dente. 

Step 1: Cook the Spaghetti

Boil the water and pour a generous amount of salt. Cook the spaghetti in hot water for only a minute until al dente. 

Step 2: Saute the Garlic

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan after adding the pasta to the boiling water. Throw the crushed red pepper flakes and sliced garlic into the pan and saute it for 3-5 minutes. Continue the saute till the garlic is lightly golden. 

Step 3: Coat the Pasta in the Sauce

Use tongs to transfer the pasta into the sauce as soon as it's boiled. Add ½ cup of the pasta water and toss the spaghetti in the pan continuously until it is coated evenly in the garlic sauce. You can add another ¼ cup of starchy pasta water if the sauce looks a bit too dry. 

Step 4: Taste and Season

Give the Aglio Olio a quick taste, and then add an extra pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt if required.

Step 5: Serve

Serve the spaghetti Alio Olio when it's hot, and garnish it with some Parmigiano-Reggiano and herbs to give it a refreshing flavour. You may also add extra chilli flakes if you want a burst of heat when you taste the pasta. 

Important Tips for the Alio Olio Italian Recipe

Follow the significant points below when making the spaghetti Aglio E Olio pasta dish. 

Keep All your Ingredients Ready to Go

Prepare your ingredients in advance since you must move swiftly once your pasta begins to cook. You can also smoothly follow the process if your ingredients are chopped, laid out, and ready. 

Do Not Burn the Garlic

Remove the pan from the heat when the garlic is lightly golden. Do not overcook it since that will affect the taste of the Aglio Olio. 

Salt the Pasta Water

The main time you season the pasta is during the boiling process. So ensure you salt the water generously and then put in your spaghetti. 

Storing the Leftovers

Refrigerate the leftovers, if any, and eat them within 24 hours. Just reheat the spaghetti with some olive oil in a pan before you serve it. 

Quantity and Types of Ingredients

Use fettuccine, linguine, or any other preferred pasta noodle when making this dish. The Olio E Aglio recipe traditionally uses 4-8 garlic cloves, but you can put as many or as little as you prefer. You can even put 10-12 cloves in your pasta if you like tons of garlic. It is also made using crushed red pepper flakes or fresh peperoncini, commonly found throughout Italy. All the ingredients used in the Aglio Olio can be substituted or altered according to your taste. 

Add Your Greens

While the aglio olio recipe is a garlic olive oil-based dish, you can pair it with delicious greens to make it more colourful. Add kale, swiss chard, or spinach to make the dish healthier and filling for every meal. 


The Italian Aglio Olio recipe is finger-licking good, and you can enjoy it in several variations. Create a customised version by adding anchovies or protein. You can even add veggies to them, but you must ensure you chop the anchovies and saute them in the garlic sauce to get the perfect umami flavour. You can add more crushed red pepper flakes to make it extra spicy. Ultimately, your pasta dish needs to appeal to your taste so you can make whichever variation you like. 


1. How long should I saute the red pepper and garlic?

You can saute the red pepper flakes and garlic for 3-5 minutes. But also ensure you pour in the pasta when the garlic is lightly golden. 

2. How can I garnish the Aglio Olio? 

You can garnish the spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. But you can also alter it with some coarse sea salt and fresh crushed black pepper to give it an extra kick. 

3. How long can the pasta be stored in the refrigerator?

You can store and eat the leftover pasta within 24 hours of making it. That way, it will still have the great flavour it had before, and you can enjoy the true taste of Italy. 

4. Can I substitute spaghetti in the Aglio Olio recipe?

Traditionally, this recipe is made with spaghetti, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can also choose other long kinds of pasta such as linguine, fettuccine, or bucatini. 

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