No two spaghetti aglio e olio recipes are alike, but this one is pretty true to the classic method. The key is slowly toasting the garlic slices to a perfect golden-brown in the olive oil. If it's too light, you don't get the full flavor and if it's too dark it gets bitter. My advice? Do it perfectly.

Recipe Summary

prep:
10 mins
cook:
22 mins
total:
32 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 servings
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a pasta bowl.

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  • Combine garlic and olive oil in a cold skillet. Cook over medium heat to slowly toast garlic, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low when olive oil begins to bubble. Cook and stir until garlic is golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Stir red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt into the pasta. Pour in olive oil and garlic, and sprinkle on Italian parsley and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; stir until combined.

  • Serve pasta topped with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Cook's Note:

It's not traditional, but for extra richness add 1 tablespoon of butter when you toss with the cheese.

Nutrition Facts

755 calories; protein 22.9g 46% DV; carbohydrates 87.4g 28% DV; fat 34.5g 53% DV; cholesterol 17.6mg 6% DV; sodium 354.8mg 14% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (304)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/03/2012
This is one of the first dishes my Italian MIL taught me to make! She told me this was an important dish to know as it is tasty, very economical and you can clean out the fridge using up leftovers. Boy was she right! It is GREATt just as is.. all on its own. During the summer, when our garden is overflowing, I sometimes add some grape tomatoes, eggplant or some zucchini and my favorite - fresh basil! I have made this using leftover chicken cutlets I diced up and made my food budget stretch a little farther. Be sure to watch the garlic cooking time and be aware that there is some cooking water from the pasta that is to be added to the garlic when it is finished browning. It is mentioned in the video and my MIL made SURE I knew to do that as it adds necessary moisture to the sauce. I use at least a full ladle as I like it a bit more moist. NOTE: add the water slowly to avoid splattering! I made this last night and I added a cup of diced grape tomatoes and some crumbled bacon and topped with shredded fresh spinach. Perfect summer meal. My favorite is using sun dried tomatoes, spinach and fresh mozzarella. Can't go wrong with this recipe! Read More
(244)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
05/01/2014
I made this after seeing it cooked on an Italian cooking show the other day. I have to be honest this is way too oily for me. I think the servings on this recipe are incorrect also. As a lb of pasta is going to feed a minimum of 6 people. Even the bag said serves 8. At least I stretched groceries until the end of the week. Think I will just stick to pasta with a little butter similar to what I had growing up. It's basically the same concept. ty Read More
(16)
424 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 323
  • 4 star values: 77
  • 3 star values: 18
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 4
Rating: 5 stars
07/03/2012
This is one of the first dishes my Italian MIL taught me to make! She told me this was an important dish to know as it is tasty, very economical and you can clean out the fridge using up leftovers. Boy was she right! It is GREATt just as is.. all on its own. During the summer, when our garden is overflowing, I sometimes add some grape tomatoes, eggplant or some zucchini and my favorite - fresh basil! I have made this using leftover chicken cutlets I diced up and made my food budget stretch a little farther. Be sure to watch the garlic cooking time and be aware that there is some cooking water from the pasta that is to be added to the garlic when it is finished browning. It is mentioned in the video and my MIL made SURE I knew to do that as it adds necessary moisture to the sauce. I use at least a full ladle as I like it a bit more moist. NOTE: add the water slowly to avoid splattering! I made this last night and I added a cup of diced grape tomatoes and some crumbled bacon and topped with shredded fresh spinach. Perfect summer meal. My favorite is using sun dried tomatoes, spinach and fresh mozzarella. Can't go wrong with this recipe! Read More
(244)
Rating: 5 stars
06/21/2012
This is so good and so easy! If you watch the video he has you add a half ladle of pasta water to the OO-garlic saute pan. This is important and is missing from the recipe. This stops the garlic from over cooking and getting bitter and it also adds that extra moisture to the sauce. I usually reserve some pasta water 'just in case'. This recipe says it serves 4 but as a side dish ( which I did) it would easily serve 8 or even more. I served this with sauteed green beans with prosciutto and Barber Chicken, Parmesan. (I know, cheating but it was really good!) Enjoy! Read More
(112)
Rating: 4 stars
05/07/2012
I love this preparation for spaghetti. I used to the recipe from The Mediterranean Diet, and made it for years. I have adapted this recipe with elements of that one. For example, I add the parsley and chili flakes to the oil after the garlic has browned, and then also add a ladle of spaghetti water as it's cooking. I usually forgo the cheese, simply because it's expensive back home in Canada and not readily available here in Tanzania. In place of it, I fancy it up with vegetables, either a handful of long green beans or asparagus. Both add a wonderful oomph to the dish. I add the veg once the garlic has browned, but before the pasta water. Read More
(94)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/16/2013
This was excellent! I have made it a few times, and I cook it a little differently each time. I like to add shrimp, use extra garlic, add about 1-2 tablespoons of butter, and sprinkle about 1/3 cup of bread crumbs. It is pretty much shrimp scampi on pasta when I get done. (add the zest & juice of one lemon). Also, I use less pasta/noodles to compensate for the thicker sauce, the addition of shrimp, and because I just love the sauce! Read More
(26)
Rating: 3 stars
04/30/2014
I made this after seeing it cooked on an Italian cooking show the other day. I have to be honest this is way too oily for me. I think the servings on this recipe are incorrect also. As a lb of pasta is going to feed a minimum of 6 people. Even the bag said serves 8. At least I stretched groceries until the end of the week. Think I will just stick to pasta with a little butter similar to what I had growing up. It's basically the same concept. ty Read More
(16)
Rating: 5 stars
08/18/2018
1-5-2014: This was perfect Chef John! I loved the flavors of the garlic with the Italian parsley and cheese, with just a hint of the red pepper flakes. Who would have thought something so simple could make pasta this good. I tossed in some fresh steamed broccoli, which I found went good with this pasta. 8-17-2018: Still a very tasty recipe, but have found we prefer it with less oil. I reduce the amount of oil by half of what's called for. If you add in broccoli, I find a saute with fresh or roasted fresh broccoli brings out more flavor. Read More
(13)
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Rating: 5 stars
05/13/2012
This was a staple in our family growing up and it still is today! This is such a simple yet delicious pasta that can be served as a main or side dish. This is also a super economical meal. We usually eat this as a main dish w/ a nice salad and crusty bread but it's also nice along side chicken parmesan YUM!:) Read More
(12)
Rating: 4 stars
05/08/2012
As my dad hailed from Italy I grew up eating this dish at least once a week. Now w/my own family I serve this as a side dish w/ pork chops substituting the spaghetti w/ extra thin egg noodles. Hubby who is a pasta critic loves it. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
11/30/2012
Finished the whole thing!!! So good! Doubled the red pepper. Forgot the parsley but it was still great. Too much olive oil will cut in half next time. Read More
(7)
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