One of the most basic pasta sauces, aglio e olio uses just garlic and olive oil (and maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat). It sounds too simple to be good, but it's among the best.
Why It WorksItaly's easiest pasta sauce, and one of the best. Read the Whole Story
- Adding starchy pasta water to the skillet with the garlic and oil helps emulsify the sauce to create a creamier, less oily texture.
- Gently cooking the garlic in the oil infuses this incredibly easy sauce with flavor.
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound (450g) dried spaghetti
- 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- Minced flat-leaf parsley, for serving (optional)
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti until just shy of al dente (about 1 minute less than the package directs). Reserve pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine 6 tablespoons oil and garlic. Add pinch of red pepper flakes, if using. Cook over medium heat until garlic is very lightly golden, about 5 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to keep it gently sizzling.)
Transfer pasta to skillet along with 1/2 cup pasta water, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring and tossing rapidly, until a creamy, emulsified sauce forms and coats the noodles. Remove from heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and stir well to combine. Mix in parsley, if using, and serve right away.