Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Pasta in Garlic and Oil Sauce) Recipe

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

One of the most basic pasta sauces, aglio e olio uses just garlic and olive oil (and maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat). It sounds too simple to be good, but it’s among the best.

Serious Eats


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[Video: The Serious Eats Team. Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Why It Works

  • Adding starchy pasta water to the skillet with the garlic and oil helps emulsify the sauce to create a creamier, less oily texture.
  • Gently cooking the garlic in the oil infuses this incredibly easy sauce with flavor.
  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time:10 minutes
  • Total time:10 minutes
  • Rated: 5
  • Ingredients

    • Kosher salt
    • 1 pound (450g) dried spaghetti
    • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
    • Minced flat-leaf parsley, for serving (optional)


    1. 1.

      In a pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti until just shy of al dente (about 1 minute less than the package directs). Reserve pasta cooking water.

    2. 2.

      Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine 6 tablespoons oil and garlic. Add pinch of red pepper flakes, if using. Cook over medium heat until garlic is very lightly golden, about 5 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to keep it gently sizzling.)

    3. 3.

      Transfer pasta to skillet along with 1/2 cup pasta water, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring and tossing rapidly, until a creamy, emulsified sauce forms and coats the noodles. Remove from heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and stir well to combine. Mix in parsley, if using, and serve right away.

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