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  • Writer's pictureKevin Dam

"Is Aglio e Olio Pasta Really the Easiest and Most Flavorful Dish to Make?"

Aglio e Olio, which means "garlic and oil" in Italian, is a traditional pasta dish that's known for its simplicity and rich flavor. Here's how to prepare this classic dish along with some professional tips and tricks to make it perfect.


  • Dish name: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

  • Cuisine: Italian

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes

  • Yield: Serves 4

  • Expiration: It's best enjoyed fresh but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

  • Ingredients:

  • 400 grams spaghetti

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

  • Parsley, freshly chopped

  • Salt to taste


  1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water before draining.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, gently heat the olive oil in a large pan over low heat.

  3. Add the sliced garlic to the oil and cook until it begins to turn golden, taking care not to burn it.

  4. Add the red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt to the oil.

  5. Add the drained pasta directly to the pan with the garlic oil. Toss to coat.

  6. If the pasta seems too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water to achieve the desired consistency.

  7. Garnish with a generous amount of chopped parsley.

  8. Serve immediately, adding more red pepper flakes if you like it spicier.

Tips and Tricks for Aglio e Olio Pasta:

  1. Garlic Control: Slice the garlic thinly for even cooking; don't let it brown too much or it will become bitter.

  2. Olive Oil Quality: The flavor of the olive oil is central to this dish. Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can find.

  3. Low and Slow: Keep the heat low when you add the garlic to prevent it from burning and to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor.

  4. Pasta Water: The starchy water helps to emulsify the oil and creates a light sauce that clings to the pasta.

  5. Al Dente Pasta: Cook the pasta until just al dente because it will continue to cook slightly when you toss it with the hot oil.

  6. Heat Level: Adjust the heat from the red pepper flakes to your liking; add gradually.

  7. Garnish Fresh: Use fresh parsley for the best flavor and a pop of color.

  8. Immediate Serving: This dish does not hold well and should be eaten as soon as it’s made. The pasta can absorb the oil and become greasy if left to sit.

  9. Portion Control: Don't overcrowd the pan when you cook the spaghetti; it should be evenly coated in the garlic oil.

  10. Finishing Touch: For a little extra flavor, some like to add a squirt of lemon juice or zest just before serving.

Aglio e Olio

This dish is a testament to the Italian culinary principle that the simplest can also be the most delicious. Enjoy your Aglio e Olio pasta with its glorious garlic flavor!

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