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  • Writer's pictureErmanno Lelli

Aglio E Olio, the queen of Italian late night food :)

This simple Aglio e olio takes just 20 minutes to prepare and is the ultimate weeknight dinner!

This garlic and oil pasta recipe is one of the simplest and tastiest Italian pasta recipes I’ve ever tried. It’s made with a few simple ingredients, yet it is very flavorful. This recipe is nothing short of spectacular. But…

"Late at night… when you are with friends after clubbing maybe, there’s nothing better than “Aglio E Olio”.

I have been there thousands of times.

What Is Spaghetti Aglio E Olio?

Aglio and Olio is a traditional pasta recipe from Naples, and it translates as “spaghetti with garlic and oil.”

In Italian, Aglio means garlic, while Olio implies oil. Seasoned with roasted garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, parsley, and “sometimes” Parmesan cheese, this spaghetti dinner is absolutely delicious.

a traditional pasta recipe from Naples

Parmesan cheese is not in the original recipe.

The traditional dish is mainly composed of these few ingredients. A sprinkling of parsley or chili flakes may be added on top, optionally. The classic Italian recipe is made with spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, black pepper, and salt.

But, if you’ve ever tried spaghetti Aglio e olio, you know that it is far more than its simple ingredients. The garlic gives a rich, nutty taste to the oil, while the salty and starchy pasta cooking water converts it into an intensely delicious sauce. When mixed with perfect al dente pasta, it’s pure heaven.

Recipe: Aglio e Olio Recipe

Spaghetti Aglio e olio has been a popular dish for years in Italian restaurants, but this simple recipe may make it one of your favorite dinners at home. It will be done in less than 20 minutes, requires only a few pantry staples, and is impressive. Try it tonight if you have garlic, spaghetti, and olive oil on hand!

Although easy to prepare, it is delicious and can be the winning idea for dinner with friends. If you’re like me, you’ll cook it again the next night and the next. Yup, it is that great.


This recipe of spaghetti Aglio e Olio will require the following ingredients:

  • Spaghetti — I prefer to use GRAGNANO However, you can use any spaghetti.. I recommend going with long pasta such as linguine, fettuccine, or bucatini, but it will still be tasty if you have short-cut pasta in your kitchen.

  • Extra virgin olive oil — Use the best available option to you.

  • Garlic — it is the star ingredient! Spare no expense - it is necessary for infusing the spaghetti with a rich, nutty flavor.

  • Red pepper flakes — while the classic recipe called for pepperoncino flakes, red pepper flakes work well as a substitute. This ingredient is optional; so, if you are not a fan of spicy food, you may omit it.

  • Parsley — any fresh or dried herbs can be used in this recipe; however, I love using fresh parsley.

  • Salt and black pepper — to taste

Hmmmmmmmmmmm not sure,

  • Parmesan cheese — while someone uses Parmesan cheese to finish it, I might say it’s superfluous. Yes, the addition is unwelcome. However, you can have fun and add some varieties of crumbles and ingredients.

  • Walnuts — another very welcomed variation. use some in the frying oil, and some for final decoration.

In Naples we may use fried bread crumbles, not parmesan cheese.

Ermanno’s secret recipe

Add a mix of bread crumbs, anise liqueur (drops), lemon zest, pistacchio and dried mint…….


This quick pasta recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes! Here are the simple steps to follow to make it.

1) Cook the pasta

Cook spaghetti as per the instructions on the package. Boil water in a large pot. Add a large pinch of salt in boiling water and cook spaghetti pasta until al dente or a little uncooked. Cooking time may be mentioned on the pasta packet. Drain the spaghetti once it is done. Before draining the starchy pasta water, save some!

2)Toast Garlic & red pepper flakes

In a saucepan, add olive oil and chopped garlic. Keep in mind that the pan and oil are not heated but are at room temperature. Now turn on the flame to a medium setting. Let the olive oil & garlic heat up together; this will infuse the oil with garlic flavor. After a few minutes, the olive oil begins to sizzle, and bubbles appear. Reduce to a medium-low heat this time. Toast the garlic slowly until it turns a pale brown hue. Avoid burning the garlic, as this will give an unpleasant flavor. Red pepper flakes should be added at this point. Turn off the stove.

3)Add the spaghetti and mix well

Add the drained spaghetti and a dab of the saved pasta water to the pot. Toss everything together, add more pasta water if needed to make a light sauce.

4)Season with pepper and your crumbles of choice

Lastly, season it with salt & pepper. Add some Parmesan cheese and parsley to the spaghetti Aglio e Olio, then toss well. It’s perfect!

How to Serve?

With only a few ingredients, the key ones being olive oil and garlic for the sauce, you’ll end up with the most delectable pasta you’ll ever try. Serve it on its own or enjoy it with:

  • Roasted broccoli or cauliflower

  • No-knead Bread

  • crumbles

  • parsley is a must

Notes from the chef:

not to brown the garlic

  • Please do not replace any other oil for the olive oil in this dish to obtain the desired flavor. Because traditionally, spaghetti Aglio e olio was a lighter sauce dish that was considered healthier than other hearty Italian meals, as Extra Virgin Olive Oil is enriched with good fat. When you add fresh herbs and chili flakes, this dish becomes enticing.


  • The most important thing is not to brown the garlic in color while toasting. Make sure it doesn’t burn; else, the pasta Aglio e olio flavor will be scorched as well.

  • To have the best taste, you must prepare and serve it immediately. Keeping it for a longer period results in a loss of texture and flavor.


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