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Oil and Garlic Spaghetti Recipe (Spaghetti Aglio e Olio)

Garlic spaghetti is a classic pasta dish that is loved for its simplicity and incredible flavors.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, as it is traditionally known, is a classic Italian simple dish that combines the bold flavors of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and red pepper flakes into something special.

This recipe is perfect for those who appreciate the beauty of simplicity and want to create a mouthwatering dish with very little effort.

spaghetti aglio e olio


When it comes to weeknight dinners, sometimes less is truly more.

This simple spaghetti aglio e olio is the perfect example.

With just a handful of everyday ingredients, you will make a wonderfully delicious pasta.

Why You Will Love This Simple Pasta

Super Flavorful: These pantry staple ingredients meld together beautifully.

It’s quick and easy to make: With minimal and simple ingredients to prep and a short cook time, you can have this on the table in under 10 minutes.

When you’re short on time, this dish is a lifesaver.

Cost-Effective: Eating well doesn’t always mean expensive ingredients.

This dish is proof that budget-friendly meals can be delicious.

It’s versatile: While the basic recipe calls for just spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and parsley, you can customize it with your favorite veggies or cheese.

It’s vegetarian and vegan-friendly: No meat required, just swap the Parmesan for a vegan sub.

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio Ingredients 

Spaghetti: Choose your favorite brand or opt for whole wheat spaghetti for a healthier twist.

Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves will provide the best flavor, but if you prefer a milder flavor you can also use roast garlic.

I use lots of garlic in my recipe, about 3/4 cloves per person.

Extra virgin olive oil: Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil, believe me, it makes a difference.

Red pepper flakes: I love the spicy touch, but if you are making this pasta for kids you may as well not put it in.

Feel free to adjust the amount of chili.

Fresh parsley: Chopped parsley adds a vibrant and refreshing element to the dish.

Salt: To salt the pasta water.

Parmesan cheese (optional): I am a lover of cheese on pasta, you can also not put it if you prefer.

How to Make Spaghetti Aglio E Olio – Step by Step

Step 1 

Start by chopping the garlic and parsley. 

minced garlic

Step 2 

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

cook spaghetti noodles

Add the spaghetti and cook al dente, two to three minutes before the time indicated in the package instructions.

Step 3

While the spaghetti is cooking, in a large skillet add olive oil, minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook over medium-low heat until the garlic is slightly golden.

cook garlic in the oil

Reduce the heat and add 2 ladles of pasta water and continue cooking.

Step 4

Add the al dente spaghetti to the skillet, tossing it gently with the sauce at high heat.

If the pasta seems dry, gradually add a little of the pasta cooking water to create a silky sauce.

Remove the skillet from the heat and sprinkle the spaghetti with chopped fresh parsley and mix well. 

Serve the garlic spaghetti hot, topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

cooked spaghetti with parmesan cheese

Best Tips For The Best Results

  • Before chop the garlic remember to remove the soul, this will make the garlic more digestible
  • Be careful not to burn the garlic, as it can turn bitter.

Add garlic to cold oil and heat it together. If you add the garlic when the oil is already hot, you risk the garlic being burned.

  • Choose good quality ingredients.

Since the recipe relies on simple and basic ingredients, it’s crucial to choose high-quality ones. Opt for fresh garlic and parsley, and a good extra virgin olive.

  • Reserve a cup of pasta water.

Before draining the cooked spaghetti, remember to reserve some pasta water. 

  • Serve Immediately, garlic spaghetti is best enjoyed immediately after cooking.

Variations of This Garlic Spaghetti Recipe

  • Substitute parsley with basil.
  • Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over the spaghetti just before serving.
  • Add tomato confit. Toss the tomato with the garlic spaghetti before serving for an extra burst of flavor and color.
  • This can be a great base for your pasta with tomato sauce, add some tomato, and let it cook on low heat for a minimum of half an hour.
  • For a gluten-free version, substitute regular spaghetti with gluten-free spaghetti or other gluten-free pasta varieties.

What do you serve with garlic spaghetti?

As an Italian, I always serve my garlic spaghetti with crusty ciabatta bread to scrap up any remaining sauce left in the bowl when the pasta is finished. Nothing goes to waste! 

To make it a complete meal, I’ll start with bruschetta topped with roasted zucchini slices as an appetizer.

For the main course, I often pair it with chicken cutlets, pork chops or a fluffy Italian frittata paired with a side dish salad or roasted potatoes.

How To Store Leftovers

If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat, simply place the spaghetti in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and gently warm it over medium heat until heated through.

You may need to add a splash of water or reserved pasta water to make the dish creamy again.

I do not recommend freezing this pasta.


How do you pronounce aglio e olio?

It’s pronounced “ahl-yo e oh-lyo”. It simply means “garlic and oil” in Italian.

What kind of olive oil should I use to make garlic spaghetti?

It’s best to use extra virgin olive oil for its robust flavor and superior quality.

Can I use other types of pasta for this recipe? 

Spaghetti is the traditional choice for aglio e olio, but you can certainly use other long pasta shapes like linguine, fettuccine, angel hair pasta, or even penne.

Can you make this sauce ahead of time?

No, I do not recommend it. Preparing this sauce is super fast, you prepare it in the meantime the pasta is cooking.

Garlic Spaghetti: 10 Minute Pasta Recipe

Garlic spaghetti pintarest


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Yield: 2 portion

Garlic spaghetti (spaghetti aglio e olio)

Garlic Spaghetti Recipe

This simple garlic spaghetti recipe is the example of how with a handful of everyday ingredients you can make delicious pasta.

Prep Time 4 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes


  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Chop the garlic and parsley.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook al dente, two to three minutes before the time indicated on the package.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil,  minced garlic and red pepper flakes over medium-low and cook until garlic is lightly golden. Reduce heat and add 2 ladles of pasta water.
  4. Add al dente spaghetti to the skillet and toss with sauce. If dry, add pasta water to create a silky sauce.
  5. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and mix well.
  6. Serve hot, topped with Parmesan if desired.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thursday 28th of September 2023

I love how easy this is. Perfect for busy week nights. I’ll definitely make again. Simple and delicious.


Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

I'm delighted to hear you enjoyed the spaghetti aglio e olio - it truly is one of the easiest and most delicious pasta recipes!

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