Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (1)
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  • Food: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
  • Writer: Lizzie Green
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

Once you try this Spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe, you’ll want to cook it again and again. It’s made with simple ingredients, takes 20 minutes to prepare, and tastes fantastic.

Pasta Aglio e olio is Italian for “garlic and oil spaghetti.” These are the only components used in the traditional dish. A sprinkling of parsley or a dash of red pepper flakes may be added at the end, although this is entirely optional.

This classic Italian pasta is made with spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in its most basic form.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio yum (1)
Food: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Spice up the Curry)

If you’ve ever had pasta Aglio e olio, you know it’s significantly more than the sum of its components.

The garlic imparts a rich, nutty taste to the oil, while the salty, starchy pasta cooking water converts it into a tasty sauce. It’s sheer paradise when you add beautiful al dente pasta to the mix.

For years, I’ve had Spaghetti Aglio e olio at Italian restaurants, but it’s just recently become one of my favorite recipes to make at home.

It takes about 20 minutes to prepare, requires only a few pantry ingredients, and is absolutely fantastic. Try it tonight if you have spaghetti, garlic, and olive oil on hand! If you’re anything like me, you’ll make it the following night, and the night after that. That’s right, it’s that good.

Ingredients for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

My Spaghetti Aglio e olio recipe, of course, has a few new twists. I begin with these classic ingredients:

  • If you don’t have spaghetti on hand, use any other pasta you have. I recommend using long pasta like fettuccine, linguine, or bucatini, but if you only have short-cut pasta on hand, it will still be great.
  • Use the best olive oil you have.
  • The standout element is garlic! It’s crucial for infusing the pasta with a deep, nutty taste, so don’t scrimp on it.
  • Red pepper flakes: For more spiciness! If you’re sensitive to spice, leave them out or start with a quarter teaspoon. Add up to 1/2 teaspoon if you want your spaghetti to be spicier.
  • Parsley: For a nice fresh touch, sprinkle some over the spaghetti.

Then I add these unusual (yet delicious!) ingredients:

  • Lemon: It may not be completely real, but a little lemon never hurt anyone in my opinion. To give this pasta a lively flavor, I add both lemon juice and zest.\
  • Kale: Pasta and greens, in my opinion, are a match made in heaven. If you don’t have any kale on hand, you can leave it out or substitute spinach or Swiss chard.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano: Purists will tell you that you should never serve Aglio e olio with cheese, but I think a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan or vegan Parmesan is a nice touch. Its nutty flavor complements the flavorful garlic nicely.

How to Make Aglio e Olio Spaghetti?

This simple pasta takes only 20 minutes to prepare! To prepare it, follow these steps (+ see the entire recipe below!):

  • Cook the pasta first. Cook the pasta until it is al dente in a large saucepan of salted water. Before draining the starchy pasta water, save some for later!
  • Toast the garlic and red pepper flakes after that. In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the garlic slices and red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is aromatic and the edges are lightly browned.
  • After that, toss in the kale. Cook until it wilts, tossing it with the garlic oil.
  • Finally, add the pasta, lemon juice, zest, and a dab of the pasta water you set aside. Toss everything together, adding additional pasta water if necessary to make a light sauce. To taste, season with salt and pepper. That concludes our discussion.
  • If preferred, garnish the Spaghetti Aglio e olio with parsley and Parmesan cheese. Serve it alone or with a salad, such as my Caesar salad, Caprese salad, or citrus salad. It would also go well with roasted broccoli or cauliflower, as well as handmade focaccia or no-knead bread to soak up any remaining oil. Grazie appetite!

Aglio e Olio Spaghetti

Time to Prepare: 5 minutes
15 minutes to cook
Time allotted: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

This Aglio e olio pasta recipe is perfect for a midweek meal! It takes only 20 minutes to prepare, has only a few ingredients, and is very tasty.


  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • ½ to 1 cup pasta water
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large bunch of lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley
  • Parmesan or Vegan Parmesan, for serving


Spaghetti Aglio e Olio yummy (1)
Food: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Spice up the Curry)
  1. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Before draining the pasta, save 1 cup of the cooking water.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Garlic and red pepper flakes should be added now. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring occasionally until the garlic is gently browned around the edges. Cook, tossing with tongs until the kale is wilted, about 1 minute.
  3. Toss in the spaghetti to mix. Toss in 1/2 cup pasta water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. To make a light sauce, add the remaining 1/2 cup of pasta water if the pasta appears to be too dry.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Parmesan or vegan Parmesan, garnished with parsley.