December 19, 2018

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Pasta Aglio e Olio - the one pasta sauce that everyone should know--and keep in the back pocket for a crazy week night.

My company shuts down over Christmas week and New Year's, which is great, but it means that this week is crunch time before we all turn into Christmas pumpkins on Friday.  After a long work day, I wanted to cook away the craziness of the day, even though it was tempting to just pick something up.  I didn't have much food--well, besides Christmas cookies--in the house (as I'm getting ready to head to California for Christmas).  It has been so long since I made pasta aglio e olio, and since it requires pantry staples that I had, I was all set!

This pasta dish is simple - angel hair pasta is tossed in a light sauce of extra virgin olive oil with garlic and chili flakes.  It comes together in less than a half hour.  The pasta cooks while the garlic sizzles.  Before the pasta becomes al dente, transfer it to the skillet with the garlic and oil  Add pasta water, and cook it over medium heat, stirring and tossing quickly.  This will emulsify the oil with the pasta water.  If you over reduce it, and it feels too oily, add more pasta water.  You'll notice below that I recommend adding only 1/4 cup of the pasta water to start.

With the red pepper flakes and some parsley, it makes a festive dish.  I was jonesing for some Oregon Pinot Noir when I made this, but this would go really well with a Pinot Grigio. (PS - My favorite wine toy is now the Coravin.  It is a cool gadget that will pierce the cork and allow you to dispense a glass of wine, and the cork reseals.  Enjoy a glass of wine without opening the bottle!)

Add a salad (or not - depending on lettuce recalls), and dinner is served!

Pasta Aglio e Olio
Yields 4 servings

8 oz. dried angel hair or spaghetti
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, cut into thin slices
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan Reggiano cheese
2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Salt, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and some salt, and allow the pasta to cook until just al dente.

While the pasta cooks, combine the garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Stir until the garlic turns golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta, and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.  Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the water to the garlic skillet, and mix well.  Add salt, and mix in the cheese.  Serve with parsley on top.

Source: Inspired from many


  1. This looks nice and simple and delicious! When did you go to Paris and do the LCB course? This must have been one of those short one-day pastry courses that they teach?

  2. Thank you for all you have done to help others by sharing your recipes! Clara has told me a sad bout your web site and I had to come to see it. I recently retired and ame using cooking to help me get past some of my health issues.


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