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Whip up a traditional Italian pasta dish in 20 minutes with this 3-Ingredient Spaghetti Aglio e Olio! The simple recipe combines spaghetti, olive oil, and garlic for a vegetarian side dish or weeknight dinner that the whole family will love!

Overhead image of two bowls of spaghetti aglio e olio

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio might sound fancy, but this classic Italian recipe from Naples simply translates to “spaghetti with garlic and oil.” While it only requires 3 basic pantry staples, don’t be fooled — this is truly a delicious pasta dish that has stood the test of time!

Bowl of aglio olio spaghetti with salad in the background

Why This Recipe Works:

  • When using minimal ingredients, it’s important to choose the finest, highest quality options. That’s why I recommend using authentic, Italian-imported goods for the best result. There’s truly no substitute for spaghetti imported from Italy or extra virgin olive oil imported from Italy (Cilento Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO)!
  • Infusing the olive oil with minced garlic allows the rich garlic flavor to permeate the entire dish. Every bite is incredible!
  • A finishing touch of crushed red pepper flakes or freshly chopped parsley adds a nice, bright contrast to the mild pasta.

Overhead bowl of spaghetti aglio e olio recipe garnished with parsley and red pepper flakes

How to Make a Simple Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe:

First, let’s discuss the 3 ingredients that you will need: spaghetti imported from Italy, extra virgin olive oil imported from Italy (Cilento Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO), and minced or pressed garlic.

3 ingredients for simple spaghetti aglio e olio

Check the label to be sure that you’re purchasing genuine products from Italy. Just because they look Italian, doesn’t mean that they are Italian!

A true extra virgin olive oil imported from Italy (Cilento Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO) is recognizable by its fairly intense green to straw color, with a fruity aroma and a delicate bitter and peppery hints. A good quality olive oil should have a bitter, spicy taste. The amazing Cilento Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO is the foundation for so many of the Italian recipes that we love!

Olive oil spaghetti and garlic

While the spaghetti cooks in salted water, heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the garlic and oil until the garlic becomes a pale gold, about 5-7 minutes (be careful that it doesn’t brown and burn).

Saucepan with olive oil and garlic

Then just toss the infused olive oil with your hot spaghetti, and your job is done! Does it get any easier (or any more flavorful)?!

Cooked spaghetti in a glass bowl tossed with olive oil and garlic

Cook’s Tips:

  • Salt the pasta water! This is the only salt that will be added to the dish, since salt doesn’t dissolve well in the olive oil sauce, so be liberal with your seasoning!
  • Mince the garlic very finely (or use a garlic press). You don’t want to bite into big chunks of garlic in your spaghetti.
  • After tossing the pasta with the infused olive oil, feel free to drizzle some extra olive oil over top of the dish before serving. Start with less, and add more to taste!
  • Garnish! Dried red pepper flakes and chopped fresh parsley are traditional additions to a simple aglio olio recipe; however, our family loves to include freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO cheese as well!
  • Don’t forget to check the label to make sure that you’re purchasing genuine products from Italy. Trust me, the superior flavor and taste is well worth the slight premium price of these imported goods. They will make the dish!

Bowl of aglio olio spaghetti garnished with parsley and red pepper

It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to taste amazing — especially when you’re working with the finest Italian ingredients.

Discover more about the never ending journey through the unique and authentic Italian flavors!

3-Ingredient Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

4 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 582 kcal
Whip up a traditional Italian pasta dish in 20 minutes with this 3-Ingredient Spaghetti Aglio e Olio!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. spaghetti imported from Italy
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil imported from Italy (Cilento Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO)
  • 2 teaspoons minced or pressed garlic
  • Garnish: red pepper flakes; chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Cook spaghetti in salted water, according to package instructions (be sure to salt the water, because this is the only salt that will be added to the dish, since salt doesn’t dissolve well in the olive oil sauce).
  • While the pasta is cooking, put olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring until garlic becomes a pale gold, about 5-7 minutes (be careful that it doesn’t brown and burn).
  • Toss the cooked, drained pasta with the olive oil sauce. Garnish with red pepper flakes and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Notes

Cook's Tips:

  • Salt the pasta water! This is the only salt that will be added to the dish, since salt doesn’t dissolve well in the olive oil sauce, so be liberal with your seasoning!
  • Mince the garlic very finely (or use a garlic press). You don't want to bite into big chunks of garlic in your spaghetti.
  • After tossing the pasta with the infused olive oil, feel free to drizzle some extra olive oil over top of the dish before serving. Start with less, and add more to taste!
  • Garnish! Dried red pepper flakes and chopped fresh parsley are traditional additions to a simple aglio olio recipe; however, our family loves to include freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO cheese as well!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 582kcalCarbohydrates: 85gProtein: 14gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 7mgPotassium: 252mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1.6mg
Keyword: easy pasta recipe, spaghetti aglio e olio, spaghetti recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan

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Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. This is my favorite dish! I eat this 2-3 times a week depending on what I have planned, because garlic! I add a red chili pepper and serve with Parmesan cheese, Grana Padano or Peccorino cheese. It’s cheap, easy and incredibly flavorful. Love it!

  2. I have been making this dish since the first time I had it in Italy. Absolutely my quick go too when people pop in. I toss shrimp in and it is better than a night out.