Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti With Oil and Garlic Recipe

Dinner Tonight

Your source for quick recipe every single week day.

Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti With Oil and Garlic Recipe

Editor's note: Starting today, Dinner Tonight will also appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays, rounding things out so you've got a quick and easy recipe to make every weeknight. Today also marks the Dinner Tonight debut of Blake Royer, who will be handling these Tuesday/Thursday recipes. Blake has written for us before, as part of the Paupered Chef team with Nick Kindelsperger—our MWF Dinner Tonight contributor. OK. Enough. You're hungry. Without further ado, here's your recipe... —Adam

I'm especially fond of pasta recipes so simple, they leave you twiddling your thumbs waiting for the water to boil. Pasta might be my favorite thing to cook for a weekday dinner: It adapts easily to cooking for one, it’s cheap, and it’s a serious comfort food that leaves you far happier with yourself than if you’d ordered pizza. So when I was flipping through Cucina Rustica by Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman, this title caught my eye: Spaghetti With Oil and Garlic. Talk about out-of-the-pantry dinner.

This recipe takes pasta minimalism to an extreme: There will be no complaints about oversaucing. Yet the result is greater than the sum of its parts—a combination so carefully simple it makes you wonder if life itself is too complicated. And, as if the grand total of seven ingredients (including salt) wasn't already spare enough, the authors say that the addition of lemon juice, "strictly speaking, isn’t necessary." I wouldn't agree—it provides a nice acidic foil to the garlicky olive oil and, along with chopped parsley, brightens the dish. But I suppose if your pantry is especially sad and lacking, you could still pull this off without the lemon. Just make sure you cook your pasta perfectly al dente.


  • 3/4 cup good olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 pound spaghetti


  1. 1.

    Heat the olive oil with the garlic over very low heat in a small skillet (you want it to at least cover the bottom of the skillet, and then some, so the garlic can “steep”).

  2. 2.

    When the garlic turns opaque, add the chili flakes, salt, and squeeze the lemon into the oil. Turn off the heat--the garlic should gently begin to brown around the edges. When the oil has cooled somewhat, add the parsley so that it gently wilts.

  3. 3.

    In the meantime, cook the spaghetti in abundant, salty water until al dente. Drain, transfer to a serving bowl, then cover with the warm oil and toss with tongs. Drizzle more olive oil if desired.