Pasta Aglio e Olio

LAST UPDATED: Apr 28, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Mar 04, 2019 | By: Julie Blanner

Light and flavorful three ingredient Aglio e Olio, a traditional Italian dish! The perfect weeknight dinner made with pantry ingredients in just ten minutes.

aglio e olio on a white plate

Aglio e Olio has long been a favorite Italian pasta dish of mine. It’s all I can do to make that g silent when ordering it off the menu. It is pronounced AH-lloe-OH-lee-o and simply means garlic and oil.

That’s just what this simple dish is – olive oil and garlic with a little dash of red pepper and fresh grated cheese! It’s simple to make and with just three staple ingredients it’s still full of flavor. It’s that dish you get excited to make when you realize you don’t have any groceries!

I consider Aglio e Olio adult buttered noodles. A more sophisticated taste but with beauty in all it’s simplicity. It’s perfect on a hot summer night or on a cold winter day.

pasta aglio e olio on a white plate with napkin to the side

Aglio e Olio is a great 10 minute pasta dish that costs under $5 to serve a family of four.  It largely uses staples already in your home!

What to Serve Aglio e Olio With

It’s a perfect stand alone dish, but you can toss in shrimp, scallops, baked chicken breast or anchovies! For a rounded meal, add a classic Italian salad and serve with fragrant garlic bread. YUM. I’ve made this recipe so many times through the years. Below you’ll see this simple pasta dish with scallops from several years ago – Chris’ favorite way to enjoy it!

aglio e olio with scallops on top

Named after two of this dish’s most important ingredients, garlic and olive oil, this simple pasta is also made with dried peperocino or dried red pepper. To give you a little more detail…

What’s in Pasta Aglio e Olio

  • Garlic – You can use fresh garlic cloves, but I always opt for minced garlic available in a jar in the produce section of the grocery store. It’s quick, and easy, just like this dish and has amazing flavor. It’s a staple in our home and one of my favorite shortcuts!
  • Olive Oil – As Ina Garten often says, use “good” olive oil. Of course any olive oil will work, but with just a few ingredients the oil really stands out. This is the perfect time to use that bottle you’ve been saving from a trip to Napa, a nice bottle you picked up at your local spice store or just an elevated bottle from your grocer.
  • Red Pepper – Flakes of crushed red pepper add a hint of color and a lot of flavor. Dried peperocino is delicious, too!
  • Parmesan – Fresh grated parmesan adds amazing flavor and texture. Purchase a wedge and finely grate. It’s worth the extra minute or two of effort. 
  • Pasta – I like to toss it with homemade egg noodles, but box spaghetti does the trick, too!

Variations

  • Add Fresh Vegetables – Found out this delicious Aglio e Olio sauce with fresh vegetables. Sauté green beans or asparagus in any extra sauce for a memorable side dish or toss them in.
  • Add Protein – Round out this dish with shrimp, scallops or baked chicken breast.
  • Gluten Free – Simply use your favorite gluten free pasta.
  • Garnish – A little Italian parsley goes a long way in giving this dish some extra color. I like to add fresh parsley after plating the dish so it doesn’t interfere with the simple flavors of this sauce as it cooks.

Voila! Something for everyone!

close up of pasta with red pepper flakes and gold fork twirling it

How to Make Aglio Olio

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until cooked al dente. (If you’ve never made your own pasta, now might be the time. It will change your life! You can learn how to make pasta here.)
  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm olive oil.
    warming olive oil in saute pan to make pasta aglio e olio
  3. Reduce heat to low and add minced garlic. Brown it, stirring continuously for about 60 seconds. It brings out the flavor of the garlic. Careful not to overcook as garlic can become bitter when burned.
    cooking garlic in a saute pan
  4. Add red pepper flakes and remove from heat.
    stirring olive oil garlic and red pepper with a wooden spoon
  5. Toss drained pasta in garlic and olive oil. Plate and garnish with fresh grated parmesan or pecorino romano.
    sprinkling fresh grated parmesan on aglio e olio in saute pan

You’ll find ingredient amount and recipe instructions in printable recipe card below.

Tips For The Best Aglio e Olio

  • I like to save a cup of the pasta cooking water in case the pasta sauce needs to be thinned out a touch.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 5 days.
pasta aglio e olio on white plate

Is Aglio e Olio Healthy?

You can make this pasta dish a little healthier using whole wheat pasta (or a veggie noodle if you’re really aiming for a low-carb veggie dish) and adding a protein like anchovies, baked chicken breast, scallops or shrimp. You can even toss in spinach for added flavor and vitamins and minerals! It comes it at just 425 calories per serving.

To see just how easy Pasta Aglio e Olio is to make, watch my YouTube video embedded in this post. Don’t forget to click subscribe for more easy recipes!

gold for twirling pasta on white plate

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aglio e olio

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Julie Blanner
Light and flavorful three ingredient Aglio e Olio, a traditional Italian dish! The perfect weeknight dinner made with pantry ingredients in just ten minutes. Pasta Aglio e Olio is amazing on it's own or tossed with scallops, shrimp, anchovies, chicken, veggies and more!
5 from 18 votes
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 453 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried peperocino or crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup parmesan fresh grated

Instructions
 

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta al dente.
  • In a medium saucepan, add olive oil and dried peperocino or red pepper. Sauté for 1 minute. 
  • Add minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until golden, careful not to over brown.
  • Add up to 2 cups pasta water and reduce for 3 minutes. Toss pasta in sauce.
  • Garnish with fresh grated parmesan or pecorino and optional fresh parsley.

Video

Notes

Substitutions

  • Pasta – Use whatever noodle you have on hand.
  • Peperocino – Substitute with crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Parmesan – Substitute with pecorino romano or asiago.

Tips

  • Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water in case the pasta sauce needs to be thinned.
  • Store – Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Optional: garnish with fresh parsley

Nutrition

Serving:1cupCalories:453kcalCarbohydrates:57gProtein:15gFat:17gSaturated Fat:4gCholesterol:11mgSodium:272mgPotassium:183mgFiber:2gSugar:2gVitamin A:130IUVitamin C:0.4mgCalcium:216mgIron:1.2mg
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner

Originally published August 2014, updated March 2019.

Disclosure

mini loaves of bread gift wrapped