Aglio e Olio Pasta, also known as Garlic and Olive Oil, is a traditional pasta dish made with simple and fresh flavors. It truly is more than the sum of its parts.
Simplicity at Its Finest
This olive oil and garlic pasta dish is all about the simplicity of the ingredients. It is also ready in only 15 minutes. That’s better than take-out, plus this is homemade so it’s better in every sense of the word.
Olive oil and garlic really are the start of many wonderful sauces, but in this pasta dish, they actually get a chance to shine. It’s a very popular dish in Italy! Just think of all the amazing food they have to pick from, and this is one dish that truly stands out. You have to try it!
What Is Aglio E Olio?
Aglio e Olio literally means olive oil and garlic in Italian. It is a traditional pasta recipe from Naples. This dish is made by sautéing sliced garlic in olive oil, sometimes with the addition of red pepper flakes, or anchovies. Add pasta such as spaghetti, linguini, or fettuccine in and toss it well.
Although I served it with Parmesan cheese, many Italians would argue that the cheese isn’t necessary. In fact, it isn’t even a welcome addition. However, I love my Parmesan cheese so I grated some on mine. It’s your plate at the end of the day! Whatever puts a smile on your face is all that matters.
Keep scrolling down to the recipe card for full ingredient amounts and instructions, or click the Jump To Recipe button at the top.
- Pasta – I used linguini. I think this recipe works best with long shapes such as spaghetti or fettuccini, but you can use small shapes such as penne if that’s what you prefer.
- Olive oil – Make sure to use regular olive oil for cooking this rather than extra virgin olive oil. EVOO has a very low smoke point, and can burn easily to give off a bitter flavor.
- Garlic – The more the merrier in this recipe! Make sure to get fresh garlic so you can slice it.
- Red pepper flakes – Use as much or as little as you like.
- Salt and pepper – Season to taste.
- Parsley – This time the parsley isn’t just a garnish! We are using lots of it today to add a beautiful fresh flavor to this pasta.
- Optional: Parmesan and lemon juice – A squeeze of fresh lemon is pretty typical to cut through the oil and balance out this dish. Parmesan isn’t usually served with aglio e olio, but it always has a place on my plate! Others also love to add some anchovies to this dish, so if you like anchovies it might be worth a try.
How to Make Aglio E Olio
- Prep the pasta and sauce: Cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a lardge, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic slices and red pepper to the oil. Stir well until the garlic turns golden, then season with salt and pepper.
- Finish the aglio e olio: Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the pasta, drained, and the parsley. Toss everything well. If you’d like, reserve some pasta water. You can add 1/4-1/2 cup to toss the pasta with the olive oil sauce. This will help emulsify the sauce and give it more opportunity to stick to the pasta. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the pasta and top with parmesan cheese.
How to Serve
With a handful of ingredients, the main sauce ingredients being olive oil and garlic, you’ll end up with one of the most delicious pastas you’ll ever try. I love to serve this with a side of Kale and Quinoa Salad, and a slice of Cheesy Garlic Bread.
You can also top your pasta with baked chicken breast, sliced, to add protein and create a full meal. Looking for more ideas? Give these sides a try:
- No Knead Bread
- Garlic Parmesan Skillet Rolls
- Soft Buttermilk Dinner Rolls
- No Knead Skillet Bread
- The Ultimate Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Skillet Green Beans
- Italian Roasted Mushrooms and Veggies
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
How to Store Leftovers
This dish is best served fresh, as the oil tends to separate from the pasta after being refrigerated. It’s still just as delicious, however you may need to take an extra step in re-heating if the oil bothers you.
Your leftovers will last 3-5 days in the fridge. To reheat, you can simply microwave it. To reduce the amount of separated oil in your bowl, reheat your leftovers in a skillet over medium-heat with a splash of water. Continually toss the pasta well as it heats up to re-create the sauce.
Craving More Pasta? Try These!
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Pasta Alla Vodka
- Arugula and Walnut Pesto Pasta
- Instant Pot Baked Ziti
- Pesto Shrimp Asparagus Pasta
- Creamy Parmesan Orzo with Chicken and Asparagus
- Italian Shrimp Bake with Pasta
- Easy Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
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Aglio e Olio
- 1 lb linguini uncooked, or any pasta
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 head garlic peeled and sliced
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- ½ tsp pepper or to taste
- ½ cup parsley fresh, chopped
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- lemon juice freshly squeezed
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and heavily salt it. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, or slightly underdone.
- While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet or saute pan over medium heat.
- Once the oil is simmering add the garlic slices and the red pepper flakes and stir. Cook until the garlic turns slightly golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
- Lower the heat to a medium-low and add the cooked pasta, drained and the parsley and toss. If the pasta is too dry add some of the pasta water, about half a cup.
- Garnish with lemon juice and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Any pasta such as spaghetti, linguini or fettuccine can be used in this dish.
- Make sure the reserve about a cup of the pasta water to add to the pasta sauce as needed if the pasta is too dry. If the pasta is too saucy continue cooking for another minute or so until the pasta absorbs some of the sauce.
- Nutrition: Nutritional information includes Parmesan cheese. Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.