Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a classic Italian pasta dish made with simple ingredients like garlic (lots of it), oil, chili flakes sometimes and cheese. I added some umami flavor by adding anchovy paste. Simplicity at its best I must say!
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is one of my favorite pasta dishes ever. Super favorite if I must emphasize. My first exposure to Aglio E Olio was decades ago at Pasta de Waraku in Singapore and I have since declared that I have fallen in love with Aglio Olio.
I love it so much because of the amount of garlic in it. I know not everyone is into garlic, but when you cook it in the oil, it gets sweeter. Now, I think I mentioned before that I don’t think I can survive on a long-term vegetarian diet. I love eggs, meat and seafood, however, for Aglio Olio though, I seriously don’t mind eating it plain too.
I’ve tried to made it several times in the past, but it never turned out the way I remember it, until I saw Ina Garten made it in her Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? cookbook. I can tell you, this recipe is a keeper for as long as I live now. Thank you Ina. I’ve been craving for Aglio Olio and so delighted that I can make it anytime I want now. I’ve adapted the recipe a little bit by increasing the amount of garlic and by adding some anchovy paste.
SPAGHETTI AGLIO E OLIO (4 servings)
- 1 Tbsp of Kosher salt
- 1 lb dried spaghetti/linguine
- 1/3 cup good olive oil
- 15 large garlic cloves peeled and cut into thin slivers
- 1 Tbsp of anchovy paste optional
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus extra for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp of Kosher salt (use half of the amount if you use regular salt) and the pasta and undercook it so it will still be firm to bite (almost like not really done when you try to eat it) because the noodle will be cooked further with the sauce later to achieve al-dente. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the pasta, such as 12-inch saute pan or a large shallow pot. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just begins to turn golden on the edges- don't BURN IT! Add in the anchovies paste (if using) and stir for another minute. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about one third
Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss. Off the heat, add the parsley and cheese and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra cheese on the side
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