Spaghetti Aglio e olio is a traditional Italian pasta dish that easily comes with minimal ingredients. Simply put, it is pasta in olive oil but the garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil makes this dish outstanding! This Italian pasta with pine nuts, red chilli flakes, and freshly chopped parsley leaves does not need any other accompaniments.
This is super easy to make with just a few ingredients — garlic (Aglio), olive oil (olio), pine nuts, chilli flakes, parsley spaghetti and of course salt 😉. You can make this for lunch or dinner in less than 30 minutes using just a handful of ingredients. While I learnt that pine nuts are not traditional, the roasted pine nuts add another dimension to the taste and texture that you will love! Trust me!
Why you will love this?
I stumbled upon Spaghetti Aglio e Olio while hunting for pine nut recipes. At first, I wasn't too thrilled – worried about wasting my precious pine nuts and olive oil, you know? But when I saw it on Laura in the Kitchen while searching for spaghetti recipes, I had to try. Was a bit sceptical if F would dig it, considering the minimal ingredients. But surprise, surprise! We ended up head over heels for it!
- Simplicity at its Best: It's perfect for those times when you want maximum flavour with minimal effort. Who says delicious has to be complicated?
- Quick Fix Wonder: From pan to plate in a flash. Perfect for busy days or sudden pasta cravings.
- Flavour Explosion: Despite its simplicity, this pasta dish is a flavour bomb. The garlic, red pepper flakes and pine nuts infuse the olive oil, creating a rich and aromatic sauce that coats every strand of spaghetti.
Being a food blogger, I must showcase recipes from different cultures with genuine respect. I aim to make dishes popular without losing their original essence, just like I did with Horaa Osbao. Excited to share garlic and olive oil spaghetti with you all, hoping it steals your heart just like it did for us!
- Spaghetti: You can use any type of spaghetti but the cooking time will vary based on the type of pasta you use.
- Extra virgin olive oil: As this is an olive oil based pasta sauce, you must use the best quality for the flavour to come through. You may use good quality olive oil if you don't have extra virgin olive oil.
- Garlic: Try using un-sprouted ones.
- Chilli flakes: Any hot pepper flakes that you have will work. You may also use thinly sliced fresh red hot pepper.
- pine nuts: optional but HIGHLY recommended.
- parsley leaves: Fresh and lots of it for a burst of color and freshness.
- salt and water to boil the pasta
For the perfect Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, the key is toasting garlic just right—too short, it's raw; too long, it's burnt. Start with room-temperature oil in a cold pan (skip preheating). Add thinly sliced garlic to the room-temp oil in a room-temp pan. Cook on low flame until golden. Toss in chilli flakes and pine nuts, and cook till golden. Switch off, pour over drained pasta, or mix pasta with sauce and parsley. Toss, serve, and enjoy!
Let me take you through the steps:
Throw the spaghetti into a big pot of boiling, salty water, following the packet instructions. Let it do its thing while we kick off the sauce action.
No need to crank up the heat just yet! Grab a shallow skillet, toss in the olive oil and sliced garlic.
Pop it on the stove, but keep on low heat. Let the garlic work its magic and transform into a lovely light golden hue.
Sprinkle in those chilli flakes and toss in the pine nuts. Keep the low-heat going until the garlic and nuts hit that golden-brown sweet spot.
Once the spaghetti is cooked al dente or fully cooked, transfer it directly from the pot to the skillet using a tong or spaghetti spoon.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley for a burst of color and freshness.Toss the pasta ensuring every strand is coated.
If it feels a bit dry, add some of the pasta water to create a silky sauce. Serve immediately topped with some grated Parmesan cheese.
Cooking spaghetti can be a breeze if you stick to the instructions on the pack. Yet, let's be real – we all forget to keep an eye on the clock. Instead of resorting to the "let me taste it" method, here's a nifty trick: fish out a strand of spaghetti and give it a snip. If you spot a thick white dot in the centre, it's not quite there yet, so let it keep boiling. Once that dot disappears, you've hit the sweet spot of perfectly cooked spaghetti.
- Pasta Pot: A large pot for boiling your spaghetti. Make sure it's big enough to give the pasta plenty of space to boil around.
- Skillet or Pan: A shallow skillet or pan for toasting that garlic. It doesn't need to be anything high-tech, just enough to evenly coat the garlic in olive oil.
- Utensils: Spaghetti spoon to transfer the cooked pasta to the dish. A pair of tongs for tossing the pasta and sauce together.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is best enjoyed fresh and hot, but if you end up with leftovers or want to prep ahead, here is what I recommend:
Refrigeration: Pop any leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. Consume within 2-3 days for the best flavor.
Reheating: When it's time to indulge again, gently reheat on the stove or in the microwave. Add a splash of water or olive oil to maintain that silky texture.
While you can technically freeze pasta, the texture might not be as perfect upon thawing. If you do freeze, make sure it's in an airtight container, and try to consume it within a month. You can check this article on how to freeze and reheat cooked pasta.
Remember, pasta dishes are often at their prime when freshly made, so savour the magic while it's hot!
Absolutely! While spaghetti is the classic choice, feel free to experiment with other pasta shapes like linguine or fettuccine.
While fresh is best, you can use pre-minced garlic in a pinch. Just be cautious, as it tends to brown faster.
It's best enjoyed fresh, but you can do some prep. Toast the garlic and keep it aside. Finish the dish by tossing the pre-cooked pasta in the warm garlic oil just before serving.
Absolutely. Stick to the olive oil, ditch the cheese, and you've got a tasty vegan version. For a veggie twist, throw in your favorite vegetables.
Keep an eye on it! Garlic can turn from golden to burnt quickly. Low and slow is the key—gentle heat until it's just right.
It's a star on its own, but it pairs well with a simple salad, grilled bacon or veggies, or a side of crusty bread for some extra carb happiness.
Looking for other Italian recipes? Try these:
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
For boiling pasta
- 200 grams spaghetti
- 8 to 10 cups water or as per pack instructions
For garlic olive oil sauce
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves sliced thinly
- ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 to 2 tablespoon pine nuts optional
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper optional
- Freshly grated parmesan optional
- breadcrumbs toasted (optional)
Boil the Spaghetti
- Boil and drain the spaghetti as per packet instructions. You may have to boil a large pot of water and some salt. Then add the pasta into the boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, start the work on the sauce.200 grams spaghetti, 8 to 10 cups water, salt
Prepare the garlic olive oil sauce
- Do not heat the pan or oil. Take a shallow skillet and add the olive oil and the sliced garlic. Now place this on the stove and turn the heat on low.¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 to 3 garlic cloves
- Cook on low heat until the garlic starts to change colour to light golden.
- Now, add the chilli flakes and the pine nuts and continue to cook until garlic slices and the nuts turn golden brown.¼ teaspoon chilli flakes, 1 to 2 tablespoon pine nuts
Plate and serve
- Drain your Spaghetti pasta and put it back into the same pot or you may add it directly to the prepared sauce.
- Pour in the prepared garlic olive oil sauce and add the chopped parsley.
- Use a wooden spatula to carefully stir and toss everything together so that the oil coats every strand of pasta.
- Divide into two bowls and garnish it with some freshly ground black pepper or grate some parmesan over the top before serving.2 tablespoon fresh parsley, Freshly ground black pepper, Freshly grated parmesan, breadcrumbs