Pasta with Garlic and Oil—Aglio E Olio

NOTE: I found two versions of this simple recipe, I'm posting them both here. I don't recall where either of them came from. Biggest difference is the first recipe only uses Parmesan cheese as an optional garnish on top while the second integrates it into the recipe.

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound spaghetti
table salt (see note above)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic (about 30 small, 20 medium, 10 large, or 5 extra large cloves) from 1 to 2 heads
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese , coarsely grated (optional)


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof serving bowl on rack and heat oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add pasta and 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt to boiling water, stir to separate pasta, cover, and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta.

2. While water is heating, combine 3 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt or sea salt flakes in heavy-bottomed nonstick 10-inch skillet; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 10 to 12 minutes. Off heat, add remaining tablespoon raw garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water to skillet and stir well to keep garlic from clumping.

3. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining reserved pasta cooking water and toss to coat. Add garlic mixture and 3/4 teaspoon table salt or 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes to pasta; toss well to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkling individual bowls with portion of Parmesan, if desired.

For a twist on pasta with garlic and oil, try sprinkling toasted bread crumbs over individual bowls, but prepare them before proceeding with the pasta recipe. We like Maldon sea salt flakes for this dish, but ordinary table salt is fine as well.

Chef‘s Pasta Aglio e Olio (with Garlic and Oil)

1 pound dried spaghetti
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
12 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving.


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the spaghetti, cooking until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving a little of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add the crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Add the drained spaghetti to the pan and toss, adding a little of the pasta water, until the spaghetti is thoroughly coated.

Remove the pan from heat, add the parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Check for flavor, adding more salt if necessary. Add the lemon juice, garnish with more Parmesan and serve with lemon wedges and crushed red pepper.