Simple Spaghetti

A good recipe for when the fridge is empty, this all-time classic is often called “aglio olio” (garlic and oil).–Keda Black

LC Improv Night Note

Scrounging for a late-night nosh? A no-stress supper? When it’s half past when you’d wanted to eat and you think the fridge is bare and the pantry empty, think again. The specific amounts of ingredients dictated by the recipe below work really quite well, although don’t let that deter you from playing loose and fancy free with the measures depending on how paltry your pantry. Consider it improv night.

Simple Spaghetti Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 large-ish garlic cloves
  • 4 or so tablespoons olive oil
  • A good pinch dried chile flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • 1. Take out a large pot and bring at least 8 cups water to a rolling boil. Add some salt, then plunge in the pasta. When the water comes back to a boil, cook according to the package directions.
  • 2. While the pasta is cooking, peel the garlic and slice it as thinly as possible.
  • 3. When your pasta is ready, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking liquid in a bowl.
  • 4. Place the pot or a skillet on medium heat and pour in the oil. Add the garlic and chiles and cook briefly, until the garlic just starts to turn golden. Remove from the heat and add the drained pasta and maybe 2 to 4 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid, as much as needed to get your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Sofia Reino

Feb 16, 2012

As soon as I read this recipe, it brought back college memories. Those crazy late nights partying or finishing architectural models, then returning to the dorm and being hungry, yet not wanting to cook a full meal. I used to make something extremely similar, hence I wanted to try this. I did, however, change a few of the measurements. I decided to make 3.5 ounces of pasta, with five small garlic cloves, one half tablespoon of dried chiles, and seven tablespoons of olive oil. The final result was absolutely amazing in its full simplicity, and every single person at the table asked me to redo it sometime soon.

Testers Choice
Anna Scott

Feb 16, 2012

I would eat this simple and delicious midnight pasta any time of day! I love pasta recipes like this one because the pasta itself is the star of the show. That is a very Italian concept that I absolutely love — minimal but delicious sauce on quality pasta. The recipe should clarify how much pasta cooking liquid to reserve as well — I recommend only adding about two tablespoons back to the cooked pasta so it isn’t too soupy. The red pepper flakes are listed as optional, but I would definitely make them not optional! Overall, this was a truly easy but flavorful pasta dish that I will be making again — whether it is midnight or not!

Testers Choice
Gabriella K.

Feb 16, 2012

This is a super easy and adjustable recipe. Actually, what makes it great is that anyone can put their own unique spin on it, by adding some seasonal vegetables or fresh herbs. It’s a great template, but also just useful to have on hand for when you’re hungry and don’t have anything but the pantry staples.

Testers Choice
Cindy Zaiffdeen

Feb 16, 2012

This turned out to be the perfect amount of pasta for the two of us. I reserved about one half cup of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce out at the end and ended up using all of it, adding a little at a time over the heat. This pasta is delicious! Use the freshest garlic and your best olive oil when making this. I like spicy food, so I used about one half teaspoon of dried chile flakes. Watch the garlic carefully, as it goes from golden to burnt in a matter of seconds. Add some salt and black pepper to finish, and you don’t need Parmesan cheese, as the dish is very flavorful considering the few ingredients. Will definitely make this quick, tasty pasta dish again!

Testers Choice
Lori Widmeyer

Feb 16, 2012

The amount of spaghetti is perfect for this pasta dish. The dried chiles (red pepper flakes would work) take this to a new level. So easy and perfect to go with almost any protein. Most of the family grated a little Parmesan over their pasta, and we all agreed it would be great with shrimp, broccoli rabe, anchovy fillets, or a variety of other ingredients. A wonderful side dish, base to a main dish or midnight snack!

Comments
Comments
  1. Greg Bulmash says:

    Sometimes you can’t beat the simple classics. Spaghetti with garlic and oil, penne with a little butter and parmesan, an omelette with nothing buy fluffy egg, one kind of cheese, salt, and pepper…

  2. Suzi says:

    Now that is a simple spaghetti recipe. I love it and the chili peppers.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      sounds like perhaps you’ve had something similar, suzi. let us know when you give this one a whirl…

  3. Donna Rose says:

    Oh, the memories of popcorn popper cookery in the ’60′s. Unfortunately we were limited to Rice A Roni and the like. This sounds much better.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      I’m with you, Donna. This does sound much better. Actually, it is much better.

  4. Susan says:

    This is a great, quick late night feed but it’s also a great side dish that I serve with parm chicken or chicken marsala or shimp scampi..(with maybe not quite as much oil) It dresses up nicely, too, with chopped tomatoes, basil, croutons..etc.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Susan, stop, you’re making me hungry! But thanks for all the ideas…

  5. This was a life saver last night when we were both starving, didn’t feel like ordering out for Chinese food (again this week), and wanted to eat NOW!!!
    It was dumb easy and delicious. Oh, and a little Parm grated on top was a nice addition.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Loooooovely to hear, Karletta! We’ve yet to try a recipe from Keda Black that hasn’t impressed us….

  6. Mello says:

    It certainly does bring back memories as I still eat a version of this 30+ years later. I have changed the olive oil to sesame seed oil, omit the garlic and add oil drenched sun dried tomatoes, capers and goat cheese.

  7. JulieD says:

    This looks quite amazing…doesn’t get any simpler and I would call this comfort food!

  8. dassana says:

    This is really a simple recipe and with the red chili flakes and pepper, it sounds too good. Will try this with a pack of spaghetti I have.

  9. beawelter says:

    I love making homemade pasta. After a phase of always trying out super-mega recipes for the sauce, I finally learned that the BEST way to honor all the work of making your own spaghetti is simply to dress it in a good old aglio e olio! Not more, not less, just perfect and honest. Thank you for the recipe!

    Love,

    Bea

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