Spaghetti Aglio e Olio


Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil is the most basic way to sauce pasta.

In a country where it is quite common (the norm actually) for the same pasta dish to vary from north to south, region to region, town to town, family to family, this “poor man’s meal” seems to be the common culinary thread throughout all of Italy.

Consisting simply of pasta, garlic and olive oil, this dish is easy to prepare, economical to serve and was my grandfather’s favorite … and mine too!

My grandmother would throw a handful of pasta in a pot of boiling water as salty as the sea. A separate pan bathed the garlic in the warm olive oil filling the kitchen with it’s heady fragrance. The drained pasta was then added to the oil and after giving it a quick toss, she served it to my grandfather. A small wedge of Pecorino cheese and a crust of bread always accompanied this humble meal.

Although I never witnessed my grandmother ever make more than just a single serving, (always for my grandfather) this recipe is for two. If the pasta is cooked in the Italian way, there is no need for additional seasonings.

I sometimes add chopped fresh Italian parsley and a few red pepper flakes, but grated cheese is never added to this age-old dish of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio!



  1. In a large pot, add the pasta to rapidly boiling water. Cook until al dente.
  2. In a saucepan, (large enough to add the cooked pasta) warm the olive oil with the garlic.
  3. Drain pasta and add immediately to the garlic and olive oil. Lovingly toss to coat every delicious strand.
  4. Serve with a wedge of Pecorino cheese and crusty, chewy rustic bread.
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