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Garlic Spaghetti - "Spaghetti Aglio e Olio"


Spaghetti aglio olio (spaghetti with oil and garlic, Italy)
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This is know as Spaghetti "Aglio e Olio" in Italy (which means "garlic" and "oil"), and is by far that country's most popular pasta dish. If you grew up in an Italian-America home, chances are this garlic spaghetti was the first pasta recipe you ever tried.

Makes 4 Portions Garlic Spaghetti

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 pound dry spaghetti
  • salt as needed
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup *olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (highly recommend Parmigiano-Reggiano)


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti, and cook according to the directions. While the spaghetti is cooking, prepare the sauce.

Add the garlic and olive oil to a saucepan, and place over medium-low heat. Cook until the garlic begins to turn golden-brown. Be very care to not overcook the garlic slices. If it gets to dark it will become bitter.

As soon as the garlic is to the perfect golden color, turn off the heat, and quickly add a 1/2 cup of the boiling pasta water, and swirl the pan to combine. The water will stop the garlic from browning any further in the olive oil.

When the spaghetti is cooked, drain very well, DO NOT rinse, and transfer to a large warm pasta bowl. Pour over the olive oil and garlic mixture. Add the butter, pepper flakes, parsley, and 2/3rds of the cheese. Toss until combined. Top with the rest of the cheese and serve immediately.

*Note: I prefer a regular olive oil for this recipe, as opposed to a strongly flavored extra virgin olive oil.
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