Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic

spaghetti aglio olio

Spaghetti with oil and garlic is delicate, but zesty. An easy, quick cook, it’s wonderful as a side dish or a vegetarian main dish. If you want to add some protein, serve it with strips of grilled chicken breast. (I usually use boneless chicken breasts, but skin-on chicken pieces will work just as well. Use whatever you have on hand or can get easily.)

You can prepare this easily in 30 minutes. Add 15 minutes if you’re adding the grilled chicken.

Do-ahead tip: Cook your grilled chicken, cool and cut in strips. Keep chilled until ready to use. Add to your skillet just before adding the pasta. Cook until heated through, then finish the dish.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6


  • 1 pound spaghetti (or any tubular pasta you have on hand – vermicelli, cappellini, spaghettini)
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, fresh Italian parsley or basil
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or Pecorino Romano)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, grilled / cooled / cut in strips, optional

Start a large pot of water boiling for your pasta (6 quarts of water)

While the water is coming to a boil, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the garlic and softly fry soffritto

until garlic is soft and slightly golden. This will take only about 2 minutes; don’t overcook the garlic.

Remove from the heat and add the red pepper flakes.

When water is boiling, add your pasta and cook until done, but still firm, about 4-6 minutes.

Ladle 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water into the skillet with the garlic and red pepper mixture.

Add the parsley or basil, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

If you’re adding chicken, add it now and heat through.

With a spider or wire skimmer, scoop out the pasta from the boiling water and add it to the skillet.

Cook until pasta is coated with sauce, 1-2 minutes.

Serve your Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic immediately in a warm bowl, sprinkled with cheese and enjoy!

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