Pasta with Garlic and Oil Recipe

August 2, 2012 36 Comments

Pasta with Garlic and Oil Recipe

How to Make Garlic and Oil Pasta

A chef friend of mine once described a good cook as “one who can make a great dish with only a few ingredients.”

This dish is a great starter because it only has a few ingredients but they must be chosen and prepared carefully to make it work. When you sauté the garlic in the oil, make sure you get a good whiff, it’s one of the greatest aromas in cooking and one you will never forget.

Pasta with Garlic and Oil also called Aglio Et Olio

Let’s look at the ingredients more closely:

Pasta – The best pasta for this recipe is either a dry factory-made spagetti or very thin spaghettini because it’s ability to stand up and not be overpowered by the oil-based sauce. A fresh homemade, egg based pasta would be over powered and absorb too much of the sauce.

When cooking pasta :

arrow Figure about 4 ounces of dry pasta per person in other words a 1 pound package should yield 4 servings.

arrow Use plenty of water (at least 4 quarts per pound) so that it doesn’t stick together.

arrow Add approx. 1 tablespoon of sea salt per pound of pasta. This will bring out the flavor of the pasta. When the water returns to a boil, add the pasta.

arrow Don’t break the pasta to fit the pot, use a spoon (wooden) to bend it as it cooks.

arrow Stir the pasta often to prevent sticking.

arrow DON’T Over Cook the Pasta!

arrow One pound of spaghetti takes approx. 8 to 10 minutes to cook but check it frequently until it’s “al dente” (firm to the bite).

arrow As soon as the pasta is done, drain it in a colander.

arrow Saucing – depending on the recipe, sometimes I plate the pasta and top it with sauce or I will combine the sauce and pasta in a bowl, mix well, and then serve. For this dish, I combine the two immediately.

arrow DON’T over sauce the pasta! Let the flavor of the pasta stand out.

arrow Adding cheese – if the recipe calls for grated cheese (this one doesn’t), add some before tossing and have some extra at the table.

Salt – Used throughout the ages, the salt I prefer is sea salt. It comes from the process of evaporating seawater and is more expensive than mined salt but I think adds more depth and character to whatever you’re cooking. Because we don’t add any salt to this recipe, it’s vital to add it to the water when we cook the pasta.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil – There is more to know about olive oil than I will ever learn in this lifetime. With so many types of olives and different growing areas, I hope to spend many enjoyable hours tasting and educating my palate.

This recipe calls for Extra Virgin which is cold pressed (no use of heat or chemicals allowed) comes from the first pressing, and has a maximum Oleic Acid (bitterness) content of 1%.

Virgin olive oil on the other hand comes from the 2nd or 3rd pressing with a maximum Oleic Acid content of 4%. Which oil you use depends on what you like and how deep are your pockets.

Garlic – What can I say, I love it! I grew up on garlic powder like many of you may have. But when I started cooking with real garlic, I was hooked for life.

There are basically three types of garlic and which one you use will depend on taste and availability. The three are:

arrow American garlic, which is white skinned and has the strongest flavor.

arrow Italian garlic, which has mauve colored skin and is more mild flavored.

arrow Elephant garlic which is huge and has the mildest flavor of the three.

When choosing, look for firm heads with dry skins that feel heavy for their size. Stay away from any that are shriveled, brittle, turning yellow, or comes in a jar already cut up. For the record, after years of effort, I was finally able to persuade my folks to make the switch.

Parsley – Although there are more than 30 varieties, there are two types of parsley that I’m familar with; flat-leafed Italian parsley and curly-leafed parsley. Is there a difference in flavor? I think so. I like to cook with flat-leafed parsley and use the curly leafed to decorate my plates. And in most recipes, fresh is better than dried.

Black pepper – Comes from black peppercorns that are picked slightly unripe and dried until they shrivel. The best black peppers are know to be the Tellicherry and Lampong and have a spicy hot but sweet flavor. Note once you grind a peppercorn, it will quickly loose its aroma.

saute garlic

saute garlic

pasta with garlic and oil

saute garlic

Pasta with Garlic and Oil Recipe

Yield: Serves 4

Pasta with Garlic and Oil Recipe


1 pound pasta

Salt and freshly ground pepper - to taste

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

4-6 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

How To Prepare At Home

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil and garlic over medium heat in a heavy saucepan until the garlic begins to turn pale gold. (Please, take the time to smell the cooking garlic and oil)

Remove the pan from the heat and add 3/4 of the parsley, salt & pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta and combine with the sauce in a separate bowl and toss until all the spaghetti is coated. (if I'm not entertaining, I will often use the same pot as I cooked the pasta in so I have one less pot to clean)

Serve onto warmed plates and use the remaining parsley to garnish and serve immediately.



Last modified on Wed 22 August 2018 9:56 am

Filed in: Pasta Recipes

Comments (36)

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  1. Paulette Pugh says:

    Sounds good to me,just like I remembered it as a child.

  2. Kathleen Piccolo says:

    I made this dish but added a bit of fresh grated Ramano cheese just before serving. While the pasta was hot sprinkle liberally with the cheese, toss to begin melting and coat. Serve immediately!

  3. Aaron says:

    This is very tastey and simple. Love it eat it all the time.

  4. Carmin Angerilli says:

    I have eaten this dish for many more years I want to remember mr forefathers ,from Italy all loved it ,it was served after wedding parties ,and many other times,as an excuse to enjoy our home made wine,and enjoy each company.found with too much grated cheese it became too heavy . But each to his own taste .
    Wonderful ,simple dish to enjoy our Italian heritage

  5. Kathleen says:

    Added onions to oil and garlic, and used fresh basil instead of parsley, and it blended nicely with penne. Was awesome. 🙂

  6. Ashutosh Nath says:

    seems that green capsicum ( bell pepper ) sliced thin and long, would go well with this dish too, add a few slices towards the end of the cooking, so that they will be crisp…..maybe it’s worth a try.

  7. mjkillian says:

    The garlic and olive oil is the whole flavor thing about this tasting so wonderful! If you do not have good olive oil, you are wasting your time!

    • Ev Gillikin says:

      I like to add some mussels steamed with garlic,butter olive oil ,parsley now that good eatting…

  8. Gracie says:

    This was simple! I added dry basil, fresh lemon, spinach and tomato…so delicious !

  9. S. says:

    My grandmother used to make this all the time for me when I was a kid qith her homemade seasoned breadcrumbs. It gives an interesting texture and flavor to the dish.

  10. Debi Parker says:

    Do I need to take the cooked garlic out of the oil before I mix the spaghetti in? The recipe doesn’t say.

  11. M. M. Ross says:

    I don’t have real garlic, only garlic powder. I’m trying to make this, but in a different way since I don’t have garlic. Boil the water with salt, add the noodles (elbow macaroni, all we have), when it’s done I’ll drizzle olive oil over the noodles and shake some garlic on it. Do you think this’ll actually work?

  12. Gordon McDonald says:

    Wonderful recipe. I added finely chopped roasted red bell pepper fresh greek and sweet basil and fresh oregano over herb chicken tortelini. Was very good!

  13. Bre G says:

    I just made this quite similar but I actually started with some chicken breast strips, seasoned them then added the ingredients to make the sauce in the same deep pan.. I grated the ingredients… garlic, added some fire roasted pepper, red and green pepper, onions.. Baked some fresh bread to wipe up some of the sauce onto…mmm mm, oh yah and added some freshly grated Parmesan Romano cheese.. And I used farfalle, bow ties Delish 🙂

  14. Greg says:

    Question for everyone…

    My dad has been told by his doctors he can’t have any salt anymore. I see a lot of great Recipes but all call for Salt. What can I replace this with or can I just drop the Salt out? I cook for him once a month on the grill most of the time and food saver it for him. Any help would be great.


    • Liz says:

      Hi Greg there’s is a product called Mrs.Dash you can usually find it with the spices. It is a salt alternative doesn’t taste exactly the same sprinkled on but cooked you can’t tell the difference

  15. Tony says:

    First, the description of ‘sauce’ was used to describe the oil, parsley & garlic topping, if you will.
    Second, The therm ‘sauce’ is used to describe the topping on pizzas & vegetables.

    What is traditionally served with and pasta, in the Italian households, is called ‘Gravy’.

    In northern Italy there is ‘brown’ gravy due to the red meats that are readily available. In southern Italy there is “red’ gravy due to the tomato crops.

  16. Ellen says:

    Cooking for one is difficult but of course I could always have leftovers which would be good. Just beginning to cook with fresh garlic. Do I mince it or leave it whole. I have been mincing it and I think I have been doing it wrong. Oregano and basil, but I am stuck with dried. Buying fresh means I throw out a lot. How much dried. I have been making this dish but it seems to need more of everything. Help.

  17. Sharmayne says:

    Can I replace the olive oil with coconut oil or would you say they are about the same in good fats!?

    • Sharmayne, I say give it a try and see how you like it. I would think you are going to get a different end result flavor but if you like it better, who cares? I’m always for substituting different ingredients to find what works for you. I use recipes as guides but often change them around to work with ingredients I have on hand or really like.

  18. Nancy says:

    I added peeled medium/large fresh shrimp to the garlic oil/water and cooked until pink then added the spaghetti

  19. Debbie says:

    I’m going to try this today!!! We had pasta and meatballs yesterday for dinner but, Made too much pasta!!! AGAIN! I have to remember now, that when I cook I’m not cooking for 4-5 any longer. However, I’m going to throw in some broccoli and possibly cauliflower! (Looovvveee them two verges) and I think it’ll be a nice additive. I’ll let you all know how we like it! Also will be serving it with garlic bread, (garlic lightly spreaded on Italian bread) and butter.

  20. Mac says:

    Tony, sorry but gravy is an American term and sauce for an Italian and by the way I am Sicilian and Napolitano. Lol

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