Spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil)

I’m not feeling too great right now. I often sneeze, sometimes my nose is stuffy and I seem to fall asleep every time I sit on the couch to watch TV. Worse, yesterday, well, there’s this house a few meters from ours, it’s in its last stages of construction and it’s being painted. The strong winds brought the sickening smell of the paint’s solvent into our house and I felt even more sick. Speedy had to cook dinner last night.

When I woke up this morning, I felt a little better but still at less than my usual hundred per cent capacity. My taste buds didn’t seem affected though. There were a dozen things that I wanted to eat — from meat rolls to pasta. And I made them all. Meat rolls for lunch; and this spaghetti aglia e olio for dinner.

What is spaghetti aglia e olio? It’s the simplest, the most inexpensive and the easiest pasta dish to prepare. The classic Italian spaghetti aglia e olio has only three basic ingredients: pasta, olive oil and garlic. Salt is added for flavor; parsley is sprinkled for color and texture. There are only two steps in the preparation of the dish: boiling the pasta the tossing it in the olive oil in which the garlic had been browned. Let not the simplicity fool you though as the flavor and aroma are just awesome!

But, wait! That’s not all. While the basic spaghetti aglia e olio is already perfect by itself, you can also treat it as a base for other variations. To the basic pasta dish, you can add cooked shrimp, mussels or clams, or even crisp bacon bits!

Recipe: Spaghetti aglia e olio


  • 150 to 180 g. of spaghetti (or the usual amount you’d cook for four)
  • 4 tbsps. of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsps. of minced garlic
  • salt, to taste
  • a handful of roughly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley


  1. Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water. When I say salted water, I don’t mean water with a pinch of salt added to it. I mean, really salted water — like sea water.
  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a pan.
  3. Spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil)
  4. Over medium heat, cook the garlic until lightly browned. Turn off the heat to prevent the garlic from browning too much.
  5. Add the cooked and drained pasta to the garlic and oil. Toss. Add the parsley and toss again. Taste the pasta. If it needs more salt, add more salt.
  6. The dish is complete at this point. This is the classic spaghetti aglia e olio and you can serve it right away. It is really, really tasty.
  7. However, if you’re feeling carnivorous…
  8. Spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil)
  9. You may toss some crisp bacon bits with the pasta.
  10. And if you feel that a pasta dish really needs cheese, top your bacon invigorated spaghetti aglio e olio with shaved cheese. Parmesan or pecorino are recommended. Spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil)

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 12 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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    • Connie says

      @Rush Dizon I’m trying to look out for more of these classic and simply Italian pasta dishes. A whole new world. :)

  1. says

    I very much want to try this recipe this weekend, kaya lang natawa naman ako when I read “150 to 180 g. of spaghetti (or the usual amount you’d cook for four)” or should I say, embarrassed, because for the 4 of us, the usual amount means “500 grams!” …

    I’m thinking of tossing in some beans and chopped mushrooms.

    Now I’m excited!


    • Connie says

      @Beatrize 500 g. for 4? Really? hehehe When I cook a whole 225 g. pack, we can’t finish the pasta…

      Adding mushrooms is something I’d like to try too. Baby portobello or Swiss browns… :)

  2. says

    I have just come across your blog and love the simple dedication to home cooking. I agree, even if I am a chef, I am far more interested in the traditional home cooking that has been passed of for generations. I moved from the UK to France 3 years ago to take my own families traditional recipes to France and to learn first hand the home cooking of the people of South West France. You might like to read my food blog about my adventures. You can find it here…

    Keep blogging! nbso

  3. natzsm says

    Although very simple, this dish has become one of our family favorites. The final outcome of this dish is dependent on the quality of the olive oil one uses so do try using the finest quality extra virgin olive oil you could find.

    Truly, adding in bacon or even ham with a shaving of Parmesan cheese simply transforms this dish into heaven. We have also tried tossing in some pine nuts and chopped sun dried tomatoes and there was one time I eve threw in s few tablespoons of capers that have been sitting in my ref and the dish still came out fabulous!

  4. Mila says

    Hi Connie, I lived on this dish for a month in college (a large, 5 lb, bag of spaghetti; oil; patis; garlic. Thats all I had in my pantry for a month.). I would add a dash of patis to the oil/garlic for that extra hit of umami, which I didn’t know existed when I was in college. I just though having the patis made me less homesick.

    Belated holiday greetings from China!

  5. Gracy says

    i love italian food but hubby is always requesting for Pinoy food. but when I cooked my aglio olio, he will devour it with gusto. add a sprinkle of chili flakes too, nomnomnom!

  6. diana says

    this is a great, easy, and versatile recipe. I made mine with cut-up chorizo and anchovies. My bf loved it. thanks!

  7. Sherry says

    I accidentally came across your blog Ms Connie and I tried the Aglia e Olio and shared it with my friends. We all loved it. Tomorrow, I’ll be cooking it again since my friends are coming after our weekend run. I’m planning to add Tuna Flakes in Oil and Cheese. :)) Thanks for sharing these things. :)) It’s helpful to young ladies like me who’s trying to learn.

  8. Sheila Basbas says

    Hi Connie. I made my own version of this, instead of fish sauce or salt, I added a little bagoong, some cheese on top and some thinly strips of green hubby and my girls, Gaby and Wafi loved it. :)

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