Friday, December 17, 2010

This Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe (Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil) Almost Left Me Speechless!

I hope this video recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio looks better than it sounds! A fairly minor cold led to a few days of semi-laryngitis, but I just couldn't wait any longer, so I summoned up my best Phyllis Diller impersonation and went for it. Like Phyllis always said, "the show must go on!"

Spaghetti aglio e olio is about as primal a pasta dish as there is. This is easily the most popular spaghetti recipe in Italy, and if you'll pardon the probably-annoying-to-Italians analogy, the comfort food equivalent to our "mac and cheese."

This is a very simple recipe – in fact, the recipe is much easier to make than pronounce. You know a recipe name is hard to say when you can't even come up with a respectable phonetic spelling. It's something close to "ah-leoh-oh-leoh." Give it a couple tries, and if you can't do it, feel free to just call it garlic spaghetti.

Anyway, this is my version (no two spaghetti aglio e olio recipes are alike), and I think it's pretty true to the classic method. The key is slowly toasting the garlic slices to a perfect golden-brown in the olive oil. If it's too light, you don't get the full flavor, and if it's too dark, it gets bitter. My advice? Do it perfectly. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 pound dry spaghetti
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 cup olive oil (note: I prefer a regular olive oil for this recipe, as opposed to a strongly flavored extra virgin olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (highly recommend Parmigiano-Reggiano)
*It's not traditional, but for extra richness add 1 tablespoon of butter when you toss with the cheese.

View the complete recipe

98 comments:

Brock said...

Wow this looks great! I am going to have to try this tonight!

Groenwol said...

I'm definitely trying this next week, it's too easy and looks really good.
By the way, you should always have a cold

Rita said...

hope you get better soon. don't worry, you still have that sexy voice ;)

Kevin said...

My dad sometimes makes this for me but with only butter and cheese. I definitely want to try this version though.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
I watched this video and realized I had all the ingredients so I made it. Sooooo tasty. And ironicly my husband called to ask if I wanted him to pick up some Olive Garden on his way home and I told him I had something much better! :) Thanks so much for all your great recipes and I hope you are feeling better really soon. Merry Christmas!! ~ Judy

Nan said...

ummmm looks so good!

Chad said...

looks amazing, chef john! keep up the hard work! and i hope you feel better soon!!

Anonymous said...

You are too awesome! This looks amazingly delicious, and I think I can even make it! Get well soooooon!

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John,

Thanks for the amazing recipe! I got one question for you though: as I like mine VERY garlicky, and as you said this method will turn out pretty mild: should I just, say, triple the amount of garlic, or should I do something different to infuse it all with more garlic-ness?

Thx for your reply, and keep on the great show!
Rob from Germany

Chef John said...

its not the amount, its the toasting that makes it mellow. if you like sharp raw garlic, you have to cook it much less.

Chef John said...

and thanks everyone!!

Jack Parker said...

It's simple. It's basic. It's comforting. It's perfect!

Tomorrow I'm making the fried chicken I've been craving but, come Sunday, it's Spaghetti Aglio e Olio!

I hope you're feeling better soon, Chef. Maybe you have some of your chicken stock in the freezer to heat and eat? That always makes me feel better. Simple chicken stock with garlic.

Chef John said...

Thanks everyone! I really wasn't that sick. Just little cold, but combined with too much talking and a few late nights = voice gone for a couple days. Better now!

S.Stick said...

When I tossed in the cheese (2/3 of it) with the pasta it turned into a giant, gummy lump. What did I do wrong?

Chef John said...

was it real reggiano? and was it finely grated?

Henry said...

simply amazing... i'm really impressed by your passion, chef john. keep up the outstanding work and i wish you well.

alcyonetwothree said...

bravo Chef! Just like grandmom taught me, she'd be so proud. not that it matters much, but a good phonetic pronunciation of the name is: alyo ed olyo. it's common in Italian to change e (and) to ed before a word starting with a vowel. incidentally, in South Philly, they say "ay oy". Go figure!

Tillsonburgarian said...

Hi John, thi is my favorite pasta by far but I add anchivie or 2. It kicks it up quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget a glass of red wine to go with it.
One of my favourite recipes, I make it almost weekly. The only difference is that I also very briefly toast peperoncino.

Minhas Duas Mamães said...

YOU SAVED MY LIFE with the Eggs Benedict tips! I'm moving out of the country and couldn't live with the fact that they don't have Eggs Benedict there! THANK YOU!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you chef for yr video! Will cook it asap.

Get well soon :)

Healthy and Homemade said...

Glad you aren't sick any more! Yuck, that's never fun.

This looks incredible. I read the title to my husband and he said, "Oh God yum." Pretty sure I'll be making this soon.

Anonymous said...

hello chef john,
i found your recipe of onion rings.. there are two questions:
1:Can i use homemade mashed potatoes instead of instant?

2: What kind of cream shall i fill in the donuts... and give me its recipe too.. i searched for it but couldnt find it anywhere.. plzz help

Regards,
haniya

Chef John said...

sorry, fresh potato doesn't work.

Asian Malaysian said...

Chef John, youre adding the sauce to the pasta which you plated without any of that resting/soaking up time! Alton Brown redacts his "Stuffing is Evil" dictum, President Obama goes back on tax cuts for the rich.... and now this. No, I dont have a cold.

Jack Parker said...

The fried chicken I had planned for tonight was put on hold in favor of your Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. It was the right decision. I made it per your instructions and it turned out flawlessly. Your technique for the garlic was spot on. (Thankfully, I didn't have to slice it. I have a little gadget from Pampered Chef that does it for me!)

Single digit temperatures, a bowl of Italian pasta and a movie to match - Under the Tuscan Sun. It was a good night. (Glad your feeling better, too.)

Anonymous said...

thx for the recipe!
As advised in the comments, I tried out your trick with not frying the garlic as long.

It turned out more garlicky - HOWEVER, the oil wasn't as much infused with garlick-flavour, only the bits of garlic left gave it the taste...isn't there a "best of both worlds" method? WIth the garlic being strong AND the oil being infused with flavour?
Maybe frying SOME of the garlic with your method, and then adding some more fresh garlic towards the end...might try that.

but anyway, thanks!

oh and btw: I always use a razor to cut the garlic in very thin slices. it needs to be so thin it's translucent and (almost) dissolves in the pan, as some of my italian friends thought me!

Marion said...

I love this recipe. It is one of my own favorites... however, I spent some time in Italy and any self respecting Italian would turn around in his grave when putting Parmigiano over Aglio e Olio [ah-lee-o eh oh-lee-o]... but then again I personally think when it comes to food and cooking anything is allowed that tastes good. I will try mixing in some parmigiano next time ;-)

toni said...

This was a staple in my house throughout most of my childhood! Looks great!

Dianeski said...

If you are teaching ordinary people to cook, why not suggest when making this dish, they use a garlic slicer. they are relatively inexpensive and will save so many fingers and so much time. I have one and it's beautiful the way the slices are so very thin and no waste either!!

Chef John said...

That's funny, I've never seen it not served with cheese, and that includes in Italy!

Collin Yeo said...

I can't do it with pure garlic and oil previously; hence I always use anchovy fillet.

Shall try your method one day.

LeeAnn Volle said...

I loved it but not the strong garlic taste. I will use less garlic next time, but otherwise it was a hit at our house.

Anonymous said...

Made this for dinner last night. Great recipe, very easy and very tasty. That said, I had the same problem as outlined in one of the other comments. It was a bit gummy. When making other, similar pasta dishes I've saved some of the pasta water before draining and mixed in a bit of that if the results were gummy. I suspect that would have worked here as well. Just for full disclosure I will admit that I did not use real parmigiano-reggiano and I used more than a cup because I like cheese.
Chef, keep up the good work here. I really enjoy the videos.

Chef John said...

it was the cheese. you have to use the real stuff and grate it very fine.

Food Junkie said...

Awesome, simple and fast. How can you lose? My pan got a little hot and the garlic toasted faster than I wanted but it still tastes awesome (eating as I type). Thanks for adding this easy dish to my repertoire!

Anonymous said...

made this tonight.
was blown away.
never knew how to do it and always had to go to the restaurant to eat it.
thanks, Chef John!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for covering this classic. It's a favourite fast dish of mine. Odd that you've never seen it served without cheese, because it is very commonly served this way. Fresh chillies are also commonly used instead of dried, where available. Cheese is good too though. A small amount of concentrated tomato paste cooked in the oil is a nice twist.

Anonymous said...

My favorite food in the whole world this.

My recipe for this is based of Marcella Hazan's from The Essentials of Italian Cooking.

Her recipe (remember 2 TBSP of salt in the water instead of the normal 1 TBSP), but my change is some amount of garlic. Since this dish is about the garlic, it's hard to over do it (or even under do it if you prefer less).

I did try slicing my garlic like this recipe and found that the garlic flavor was lacking (hours of slicing with a razor blade), so the food processor gets to do the work.

I'll give this a try though.

Food Junkie said...

Rice aglio e olio. This same technique works great for a rice side dish. Just substitute cooked rice for the pasta. You may have to play with the oil and garlic amount a bit to get it to your taste preferences but if you like the pasta version you'll probably like it with rice. Yum.

Oh and I've voted for you on the tasty awards - good luck Chef John.

lilian85 said...

Could i substitute red pepper flakes for cayenne pepper or chopped dried red chilies? Also would mincing up the garlic make it have a stronger garlic taste? I'm obsessed with garlic. Making this tmr, any feedback will be appreciated. =)

dani said...

This was amazing and very simple. We didn't use the red pepper flakes but I toasted some almond slices later on with the garlic slices. And thank God we had a small chunk of real parmesan cheese... Thank you Chef John!

coupland said...

Made this for dinner tonight with some home-made pasta, was awesome! Light, fresh, a little taste of spring in the dead of winter. Yum!

Anonymous said...

Made a basic version of this today with no cheese, but I added a good chunk of butter with the oil and added the garlic just before it started to foam. The butter helped get the oil a little thicker, as well as brown the garlic (a little more brown than yours looks) which tasted amazing! Kinda reminds me of roasting whole cloves with oil/butter in a foil on the top shelf of the barbecue. Thanks for the inspiration Chef, please post some more garlic recipes!

If anyone's oil turns out not-so-flavorful you can try tossing your raw garlic slices with regular table salt and let it sit for a few minutes before frying, to release the water faster.. it shrinks the garlic a little bit but it will still be pretty moist when it hits the drained pasta.

brandygurl said...

Chef John when you say to use really good olive oil which would you recommend. I've tried a few different ones but I don't like the flavor at all. I like olive oil but I'm thinking the ones I have tried although not cheap taste cheap. Suggestions please.Thanks!

Chef John said...

lol, this is a common prob. The expensive oils usually have a much stronger taste which you don't like. Try some cheap supermarket variety... much more mild.

Amylucimar said...

Chef AWESOME! (aka Chef John),

i made this for guests after their long drive to our house for this past Christmas. They loved it! as i was serving them i talked about the facts you shared about the dish. they were impressed. thanks so much for sharing this.

oh yeah, i also just finished making it again. lol. YUM YUM YUM!

this will definitely be a regular dish in my house now.

thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I recommend this method to anyone who complains about either the garlic not being strong enough or the oil not tasting garlicky enough:

I used a lot more garlic though. I also added the same amound of garlic towards the end of cooking - because the flavour of the first ones escaped into the oil. Like this, you have 50% garlic-less garlic (but it flavoured the oil!) and 50% with the full flavour.

Also, I flopped in a couple of those dried peperoncini guys - I pushed them down in the pan with a spoon to make some of the flavour escape into the oil.

Thanks, Chef John!

Martin said...

Hi Chef John

We love this pasta--but we've been having it with your ricotta meatballs rather than on its own! It's delicious.

Thanks :-)

Alison & Martin

Sumaya said...

tried it and turned out very good. it took about ten minutes to make. had some salad and chicked meatballs on the side, was perfect. Everyone loved it.

Eric said...

Ummmm, John, that's one fine pasta dish. Delicious!

Anonymous said...

I tried your carmel apple pie recipe today and it was a hit! I will be trying this recipe next week. Yum!

MissSarahOlivia said...

i know this is an older post... but i love this pasta. It is so easy and really good. The garlic is sweet and tender. I have made it a few times. I like angel hair pasta for this recipe.

Anonymous said...

How many people does this serve?

Chef John said...

maybe 4

Anonymous said...

I ate something similar to this dish once in a restaurant and was so obsessed with recreating it and finally here you have it. Except the restaurant version used tomato paste to add even more flavor, and they served it with blackened chicken, absolutely perfect match. On a side note, I used your recipe but I also added a little cayenne along with the red pepper flakes so the pasta dish and chicken had the same amount of kick, tastes great with blackened tilapia as well. Do you have a blackened recipe for meats?

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John,

This is my first time on your blog and the first recipe I've ever tried :)...and I was definitely not disappointed! I had company over tonight and wanted to impress them with classic Italian pasta. I followed your recipe exactly and it came out perfect! Thank you so much for the recipe AND the video...I'm definitely your newest follower :)

Thanks again,
Thankful in Canada :)

Marco said...

from pure Italian: this pasta is the most used in the south of the peninsula, fast, economic, easy and very good..
more that red pepper, hot pepper is used..
Great work!

Anonymous said...

try it with some "peperoncino" in the souce put it on the dish and then top it with a tartare of scalops "capesante" (u can use also fresh tuna) with some pepper salt and oil on top . .. . it give an extra incredible touch to a classic !

try it . . . ;))

Janet said...

i've tried this recipe many times but i always ended up failing. i really tried to follow every one of ur steps perfectly but they always came up so dry. what am i doing wrong? :(

Chef John said...

its not really a wet pasta, but you can add more oil and or butter.

Alex P said...

Chef you are the best !!!..
i tried it, but used angel hair pasta and it was a mess.. i will do it again with regular spaguetti pasta.!!..
thanks so much for your recipies !!

Yvette said...

Going to cook this for practical exam :)Hmmm... hope I am able to score well with this recipe :D Looks quite good

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for this amaaaaaazing recipe! My husband and I love it, especially with homemade fresh pasta!
You got so many great recipes wich are very helpful!
Thanks for your work chef John :)

Anonymous said...

Just made it, tastes great although I didn't have cheese and my slicing wasn't perfect :)

Basset Training said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thaddeus said...

Hi Chef John, I am starting to be a great follower of your amazing videos and i and intending to try the aglio olio recipe for christmas. Can i know any good ways to add a little more colour and vibrance to the dish to make it look brighter?

Thanks Chef John!

Chef John said...

maybe just a fine dice of red bell pepper?

pc said...

Chef,

Not trying to ruin your recipe but how would I add a protein(meat) to the dish?

My family is full of diabetics and part of their diet is to have a protein element at each meal.

thanks. the site is a great learning tool and is helping me get ready to cook Christmas dinner for the family.

Chef John said...

Can't you just serve alongside meat?

pc said...

That makes sense. I can't believe I didn't think of that.

PiscesJourney said...

This is a great recipe! I made it earlier tonight and it turned out awesome! It was fairly easy and straight forward, tasting wonderful! I did use a little butter, but I can tell it would be great without it too.
Thank you!

Penn said...

Tried this recipe and WOW, its really simple yet delicious! Thumbs Up, chef John.:) i also tried adding some smoke salmon slide and it turned out pretty good too.

Erick said...

I made this today. I added some clams. It was absolutely delicious!

moccy said...

Hi Chef, I just want to say how amazing this simple recipe can be. I always have my pasta creamy and underestimated aglio olio version, but tonight I was amazed on how a simple combination of olive oil infused by garlic can create such a delicious dish! I think I know why you insisted to have the garlic sliced that way. It gives a very mild yet fragrant aroma of garlic without being too overpowering. It smells absolutely wonderful when the garlic was being slowly toasted. I used a 3:1 combination of olive oil and extra virgin and put grated cheddar mixed with parmesan cheese. Anyhow, it tastes superb! Thank you for sharing the knowledge, Chef!

Andres said...

I am trying this tonight, will let you know how it went. I have been watching your vids since Dec, when I was looking for strawberry sauce to put on a cheesecake. Since then, I've enojoyed all the recipes I've tried from you, so thanks a lot. I'm sure this will be amazing as well.

Andres said...

So, I eneded up trying this night before last and let me just say it was Awesome!! I'm excited to try a new recipe from you, gonna try a dessert now. Thanks so much!! Even from the first time I showed my girlfriend this vid, she recalled everything you said. I know you are helping a lot of people make it seem easy to cook with your charm and humor, good job Chef John.

Anonymous said...

Hi chef John! I know this is going to sound realllyyyy stupid, but i don't have any paresely at home right now. Is that alright? or what can i substitute it with? sorry i know its stupid. thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hello! Does it really matter if you add salt to the boiling water with pasta or when it is on the dish already? Adding salt to the dish really looks strange! Probably cause I'm russian, all russians throw salt into the boiling water.

Chef John said...

Yes! The pasta must absorb salt while it cooks. Not the same after cooked.

Steven Mon said...

I just tried this tonight and it was unbelievably delicious (I didn't have any parsley though--it still was great). I was shocked because it seems so simple and basic!

I want to try your sandy bean recipe next!

Anonymous said...

I love this recipe! But I did a naughty thing and added chopped, cooked bacon! Heavenly!

Drama Mad said...

when do i add in the garlic?? i actually added the garlic into a sizlling pan and it turn light brown pretty fast... so when i finish, there was no taste.. good smell, but no taste...

Jaime said...

When I add in the boiling pasta water to my oil to stop it from browning, the oil just splashes everywhere.

sgcloudchaser said...

I combine your sautéed mushrooms with this and it's simply heavenly. Except I was thinking is there a way to prevent the toasted garlic from become soggy when water is added to the oil...

Stubor said...

John,

I tried this with cilantro and creme fraiche. I am now addicted, and it is all your fault.

Thank you.

Lianne Manzer said...

Awesome!! I'm eating it as I type, and it's wonderful. I tried the same dish using the "Joy of Cooking" recipe and it didn't turn out this nice.

As a previous commenter stated, the garlic toasted a bit faster than I would have liked, but I simply put it to the side while the pasta finished.

Thanks for this recipe!

Tobi said...

If I had to eat one pasta dish for the rest of my life, this would be it. I probably did not cook a single other dish more often than this beautiful composition. Absolutely amazing - just a couple of basic ingredients combined perfectly. I have tried lots of other variants, but your recipe is just out of competiton.

Adding additonal stuff takes away from the magic & simplicity and does not improve this classic dish.
Do yourself a favor and do each step just perfectly instead: Get to know your pan, undercook the perfectly salted pasta just sligthly, get real cheese and use a micropane, and hit the perfect time for your garlic. You will be rewarded by a dish that will blow you away - no need to add stuff and ruin it.

Thank you so much Chef John! I'm a huge fan of your delicious recipes & your funny videos and I convince everyone I know who is even slightly interested in cooking to check out your site. It's amazing how everyone thinks I'm a great chef when all I'm doing is following your instructions, lol!

BelLulas said...

Hey Chef John :)

I have just tried that recipe and the family loved it! Thanks for sharing. Love your site.

Greetings from Luxembourg !

Caitlin Loxley-Smith said...

Hey, Chef John,
I prepared this for my parents today and they absolutely loved it, as did I, of course. My family thought it was fit for a 5-star restaurant! Thank you so much for the great directions. Had I received them anywhere else, the dish would not have been as amazing!
Thanks and keep up your great work!
Sincerely,
Caitlin

suaspontelife said...

Yay I finally tried this! And it was SO amazing. I halved the amount of spaghetti...but kept the same amount of garlic :)

Nat Small said...

I just tried this recipe, and it was delicious! It's so simple that anyone can cook it; and the ingredients are common enough that even a college student could make it.

sumyoungguy said...

OMG OMG OMG!!!
i made this on my son's bday as one of the dish and it was gone within minutes and everyone was asking me for more....compliment after compliment throughout the night and the funniest thing is 2 of my buddy got slap on the head by their wives....."why can you cook like this?"
o yeah i got a few "thanks alot richard!" from them....lol THX Chef John

"yet so easy but so good"

Nisa0706 said...

Hello Chef John! I just made this for lunch and it was perfetto!! So easy, so delicious, got some real parmigiano reggiano and although a little bit expensive here in Holland but it was worthwhile. 6 cloves of garlic give the right amount of taste. Would definitely make this again. Thank you for sharing the recipe, Chef John :)

Cliverton said...

We would add the pepper flakes in with the oil and use Pecorino Romano for this dish.........otherwise, shades of my youth in upstate NY next door to my Abruzzes grandmother. It seems every dish had a few pepper flakes (we were too poor to have the powder).
This is still a staple in my home.

Isa Bel said...

Just added you on my fav blog list x x

ewcarlson1 said...

Chef John, Thank you again...been a fan for years bt just tried this last night....a new perfect staple for my wife and I. Salmon season just opened in CA so i threw in 3/4 pound thinly sliced with a touch of lemon--perfect--thanks again----oh, and yes the expensive cheese is the only way to go