Your favorite pasta tossed with extra virgin olive oil and lots of garlic is the perfect easy side dish! Learn how to make classic Olive Oil Pasta (Aglio e olio) with these simple instructions.
This savory, garlicky pasta might be the perfect dish! I could probably eat this every day. It’s simple and very fast to make – cooking the pasta takes longer than this olive oil pasta sauce does.
Pasta with olive oil makes a fabulous side dish for your Italian style entrees or simple grilled meats or fish. I love making this pasta with pan-seared shrimp and steamed veggies.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- 15 Minutes – This dish only takes as long as it takes to cook pasta on the stove! The olive oil and garlic sauce only takes a few minutes to create.
- Versatile Recipe – Pasta with olive oil and garlic goes with everything!
- Delicious Flavors – This is pasta like you might get in Italy, made with simple, fresh, amazing ingredients.
Ingredients In Olive Oil Pasta
Make this recipe really simple, or add in your favorite flavorful extras. It’s delicious either way!
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Pasta: I like spaghetti with this simple oil and garlic sauce, but you can use other types of pasta too. Try linguini!
- Olive Oil: This is the main ingredient for the pasta sauce, so use a good quality extra virgin olive oil please.
- Garlic: 8 whole cloves of garlic will make your aglio e olio so flavorful! Slice them very thinly so that they will cook quickly.
- Optional Add Ins: You can make olive oil pasta with just spaghetti, oil, and garlic, but it’s extra delicious if you add some crushed red pepper to the oil, or add freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley at the end.
How To Make Olive Oil Pasta
- Cook Pasta: Cook spaghetti according to the package instructions. Before you drain the pasta, reserve ½ to 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Saute Garlic: While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan or dutch oven, then add the sliced garlic and the red pepper flakes if using them. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is very lightly browned, then remove from the heat.
- Finish and Serve: Add the pasta to the garlic oil along with half a cup of reserved pasta water, and toss to combine. If desired, add parmesan cheese and chopped parsley and toss again. Serve immediately.
Don’t burn the garlic! It’s easy to burn garlic if you aren’t paying attention, it can happen very quickly, and it will ruin your dish. Be sure to watch, and remove the pan from the heat as soon as you see the garlic start to brown.
- Cook Perfect Pasta: Follow the instructions on the box of spaghetti to cook the pasta to al dente (with some bite) or to your preferred texture. Be sure to add salt to the cooking water too.
- Remember to Save Some Pasta Water! You’ll need to add some pasta water to the spaghetti to make the sauce loose and perfect. Carefully scoop a cup out of the pot just before you drain the pasta.
- Use More Water if Needed: If you feel like the pasta needs it, feel free to add an additional ¼ -½ cup of pasta water.
- Make it Gluten Free: Simply substitute with your favorite gluten-free pasta.
This simple pasta dish is best enjoyed right away, but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Reheat in the microwave, and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if needed, since the pasta will have absorbed the sauce in storage.
What To Serve With Olive Oil Pasta
You’ll find different types of olive oils at the store. For making pasta, look for extra virgin olive oil, which is greenish in color and has a fresh, clean flavor.
Garlic cloves that have been sitting around for too long may start to grow green shoots out of the top of them! While these cloves are safe to cook with, the flavor won’t be as good as if you used fresh garlic.
Pasta with garlic and olive oil is delicious with chopped fresh tomatoes added in with the pasta. Don’t cook the tomatoes too much so that they stay fresh.
Aglio e olio is the perfect pasta side dish! Save this recipe for the next time you need a quick dish to go with dinner. Pin it for more people to enjoy too.
- 1 pound (450 g) spaghetti uncooked, or other long pasta shape
- ½ cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or more, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup (22 g) grated parmesan cheese
- Cook spaghetti according to the package instructions. Before you drain the pasta, reserve ½ to 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Meanwhile or 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked, heat olive oil in a pan or dutch oven, add garlic and red pepper flakes if using. Sauté or 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is lightly brown (do not burn it!) And remove from heat.
- Add the pasta to the garlic oil along with half a cup of reserved pasta water, and toss to combine. If desired, add parmesan cheese and chopped parsley and toss again. Serve immediately.
- Don’t forget to save some of the pasta water to add to your sauce.
- Be careful not to burn the garlic. It can happen quickly, so keep an eye on it, and remove the pan from the heat as soon as it starts to brown.
- If needed, add additional pasta water to loosen up the pasta.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave with an extra drizzle of olive oil.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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