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Spaghetti Aglio E Olio (Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil)

Spaghetti tossed in sauteed garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and fresh parsley. A quick and easy authentic pasta dish!

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Italian Pasta Dish, Pasta Dish, Spaghetti, Spaghetti Aglio E Olio
Author Sunup to Sundown


  • 1 lb spaghetti (your choice of spaghetti pasta)
  • 5 tbsp olive oil (may use 2 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil)
  • 6 garlic cloves (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp black pepper, freshly-ground
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley, fresh (if using dried, add 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


  1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous amount of salt to the pot. Stir the spaghetti into the boiling water. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

  2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, watching carefully so the garlic doesn't burn. Once the garlic is softened, remove from heat and add red pepper flakes and ground black pepper.

  3. Add 1 1/2 cups of pasta water. This water is salty and starchy and adds flavor to the sauce.

  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and then toss with the garlic and olive oil mixture. Toss with parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Salt according to taste. If you like spicy foods, add a touch more red pepper flakes.

Recipe Notes

If using leftover pasta, you might need to cut this recipe in half as you don't typically have a whole box of pasta leftover.  Then you will complete the second step of sauteing garlic in oil and add red pepper flakes and ground black pepper.  You will then add your cold pasta to the pan and toss in the hot garlic oil mixture to heat through.  Add some water to the pan if needed.  Once heated through, remove from heat and add your Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.