Spaghetti all’Aglio e Olio

This spaghetti all’aglio e olio recipe is classic Italian simplicity. The flavors of fine olive oil, garlic, and spicy red pepper flakes combine perfectly to create the ultimate comfort food with a kick that keeps you coming back for more. A generous shaving of good Parmesan completes the dish. And all in about 20 minutes flat. A delicious quick lunch or simple supper that anyone can make and accompany with a bitter leaf salad. It’s equally scrumptious with wheat-free pasta.–Trudie Styler

LC Nifty Pasta Technique Note

According to Trudie Styler, the wife of Sting and the creator of this specific take on spaghetti all’aglio e olio, the pasta cooking water is the secret ingredient. She goes on to explain how the cooking water lends a unique flavor to the dish that’s a result of the salt and starch content. Finally, an explanation behind a nifty notion.

Spaghetti all’Aglio e Olio Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, plus more for the pasta water
  • Finely shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  • 1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly tender and still firm to the bite. Drain the pasta and reserve about 1/4 cup cooking water.
  • 2. Return the pot to medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, then reduce the heat and immediately add the drained hot pasta and the reserved cooking water. Toss and stir so that the oil and water emulsify. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Serve the spaghetti all’aglio e olio immediately.
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Ralph Knauth

Aug 24, 2014

Spaghetti all’aglio e olio is one of my all-time favorite dishes. First, because of the taste, of course. But also because it's so easy and quick to make. I always have the ingredients on hand and it's done in a snap. I use a buttery, not too bitter, olive oil here, as that works best for me. A cup is way too much, though. I use maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup cooking water.

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Sue Davis

Aug 24, 2014

Great flavors! Viva Italia! This spaghetti all’aglio e olio recipe instantly transported me to my travels throughout Italy. This classic dish pairs perfectly with just about anything edible. Serve as a main or a side dish and you will be handsomely rewarded with compliments from your diners. I used 1/2 cup olive oil, added a dash freshly ground black pepper, and topped the dish with fresh basil. An absolute hit and so simple to assemble.

  1. I never think of shaving Parmesan cheese (I always grate it) but that gives this dish such an elegant look. Lovely recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hey, many thanks for taking the time to let us know you found this inspiring, Ordinary Blogger. And you’re very welcome.

  2. Love love LOVE this recipe for crazy weeknights. And I’ve never thought to use the cooking water, which of COURSE would make it so much better. Definitely next time. :)

  3. Marina Maria says:

    You gotta love the Italians… when it comes to simple, delicious food, nobody does it like them! I love this recipe and when I have leftover broccoli hanging around in the fridge, I like to chop it really small and add it to the olive oil and garlic. It’s a nice twist! (and the best way to eat broccoli, I think).

  4. Jamie says:

    This has been my husband’s favorite pasta dish (and quick-fix) since we lived in Italy and you just reminded me that it has been too long since he made it for us. It really is perfect.

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