This simple spaghetti aglio e olio is packed with flavor from just a few basic ingredients. It's a recipe that's quick enough to make on a busy weeknight or a holiday and a pasta recipe that you'll make over and over again.
When I shared the recipe for pasta bolognese a few months ago, I knew the recipe would be an instant hit with readers. Since then, it's become one of the most popular recipes on this website— alongside the beloved verde chicken chili.
When I asked you what other recipes you'd like to see, you asked for lighter pasta recipes that had flavor but used minimal ingredients.
Well, well, well, here you go...
What Is Spaghetti Aglio e Olio?
Spaghetti aglio e olio is a fancy way of saying "spaghetti with garlic and oil"— a traditional Italian dish that is made with just a few ingredients but provides maximum flavor. There are some that top it off with parmesan cheese and a pinch of red pepper flakes, while others that add to it a bit more. This recipe for spaghetti with garlic and olive oil is somewhere in the middle.
Tell Me About This Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe
- Flavor: Between the olive oil and touch of butter, you get a richness that coats the pasta. Then, you're hit with lots of garlic but is balanced out by the salt, pepper, and fresh parsley.
- Ease: There's no arguing that this pasta recipe takes minimal effort. The "hardest" part is waiting for the water to boil to cook the spaghetti. The "sauce" is just olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh garlic, a touch of butter, and fresh parsley.
- Time: This recipe shouldn't take you more than 20 minutes. What takes the most amount of time is the type of pasta that you use.
Overview Of Key Ingredients
If you're anything like me, your creativity shines in the kitchen.
- Spaghetti: You can use fresh or boxed spaghetti. It really doesn't matter the type of pasta, though I prefer thin spaghetti.
- Olive Oil: You want to use high quality olive oil for the best flavor. I prefer Filippo Berio it has rich flavor while also being budget friendly.
- Butter: Just 1 Tablespoon adds additional richness and flavor.
- Garlic: Lotssss of garlic. Lotssss of fresh garlic. You want to use fresh garlic for the best flavor.
- Lemon: Just a touch of lemon helps brighten and enhance the flavors.
- Parmesan Cheese: While this isn't required, I always add a little bit of parmesan cheese to pasta. It adds just a little something extra.
- Salt: It might not seem like a lot of salt, but this is because the pasta gets most of it's flavor from the salted pasta water.
- Pepper: For additional flavor.
- Parsley: Adding fresh parsley to the pasta gives it a brightness and helps pull together the other flavors.
Let's Walk Through The Steps
This is just an overview to help show you how simple this recipe is. You'll find the full recipe below.
- Cook the Spaghetti: Depending on the type of pasta that you use, the cook time will vary from 8-15 minutes. I prefer to use thin spaghetti which takes about 6-7 minutes.
- Make the Sauce: Just when the pasta is about done, start the sauce.
- Combine: Give it a big stir until the pasta is coated evenly. That's it!
I'm testing my limit on "how much pasta is too much pasta" and I don't think I'm there yet. I could eat this every day of the week— toss in some roasted vegetables as a side dish or serve with grilled chicken to make it a complete meal. Don’t pass up trying this spaghetti aglio e olio.
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Spaghetti with Garlic & Olive Oil)
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Prepare the spaghetti according to the package directions, in a heavily salted pot of boiling water, cooked until just over al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water prior to draining the pasta.
- In a large 10-12 inch skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, butter, and garlic. Stir and cook for about 1 minute. Toss in the cooked spaghetti, 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and parsley. if the pasta seems a bit dry, stir in the remaining 1/4 cup reserved pasta water.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: This can be made up to 4 days in advance. Warm to your liking.
- Pasta: You can use your favorite pasta, but the cook time will vary.