Skip to Content

Simple Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic (Pasta Aglio e Olio)

This classic pasta with olive oil and garlic (aka Pasta Aglio e Olio) is easy enough for weeknight meals but classy enough for a date night or entertaining guests! Especially when served with freshly grated Parmesan cheese…

pasta with olive oil and garlic on two white plates with gold forks
This post has been sponsored by Deoleo USA, Inc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pasta With Olive Oil And Garlic

What’s not to love about an easy, healthy, and inexpensive pasta dish?! Especially one that has JUST THREE ingredients that I can almost guarantee you always have on hand in your pantry.

It’s not a dream — this simple pasta with olive oil and garlic comes together with just 3 ingredients: pasta, garlic, and a high-quality olive oil. That’s it!

This is all you need for a super simple classic olive oil pasta that’s easy enough for weeknight meals but still classy enough for a date night or entertaining guests.

olive oil pasta sauce ingredients on a wooden cutting board

Olive Oil Pasta Sauce Ingredients

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… When you’re preparing a super simple recipe, like this simple pasta sauce with olive oil and garlic, using the freshest, highest quality ingredients you can find is essential.

Pasta — I typically use spaghetti noodles in my olive oil pasta, but you can use fettuccine, angel hair, cappellini, linguine, and so on. Really, any type of long, thin noodle will do. Just look for a noodle that’s made with 100% semolina flour, the flour of choice for high-quality pasta.

Garlic — For this recipe you absolutely need to use fresh garlic cloves. Choose a garlic bulb with a very firm head, without any mold or soft spots. And you definitely don’t want a bulb that has green shoots coming out of the top. This is a sure sign of an old bulb.

Olive Oil — Olive oil is a lot like wine in that everyone has their favorite(s). Choose your preferred high quality extra virgin olive oil for this olive oil pasta sauce!

Basic NEVER has to be boring when you use the best ingredients… And this simple olive oil and garlic pasta sauce is proof perfezione!!

olive oil for aglio e olio in a green bottle with a pop-up spout

Choosing an Olive Oil for Aglio e Olio

Before I walk you through making the best aglio e olio (aka pasta with olive oil and garlic in Italian), let’s talk just a bit more about the olive oil component — because it’s arguably the most important.

Carbonell Extra Virgin Olive Oil (specifically the Cordobesa varietal) has been my go-to EVOO lately for a number of reasons:

Taste. Carbonell Olive Oil is a single cultivar olive oil, meaning it’s produced using olives from a single region. This gives their olive oils a deliciously fresh and clean, yet complex and balanced flavor.

I’m not an olive oil expert by any means, but you can truly taste the difference with just a drop on your finger.

Color. Oh my gosh, THE COLOR! I’ve never seen such a vibrant yellow-green color in olive oil. It’s positively dazzling!

The Bottle. The bottle is just gorgeous with heavy green glass and beautiful labelling, which incidentally, also provides useful details on the flavor profile and origin.

I would not hesitate to place it on my table when entertaining. There’s absolutely no need to decant it into a decorative olive oil, especially with my very favorite feature — the pop-up spout that makes drizzling easy and mess free!

Sustainability & Traceability. Carbonell uses sustainable farming practices that produce world class olive oil, and its production is 100% traceable from growth to table. I haven’t discussed these attributes on my blog much, but it’s something I’ve been actively seeking out in the products I purchase for our family.

Produced in Spain, the No. 1 olive oil country in the world, Carbonell is the #1 selling olive oil there for good reason! But now, you can purchase the Carbonell portfolio of olive oils here in the U.S. at Fresh Thyme stores.

You’ll also want to check out the other three varietals: mellow & fruity Morisca, sweet & nutty Arbosana, and fruity & peppery Manzanilla.

how to make olive oil pasta with garlic

How To Make Olive Oil Pasta

Traditionally olive oil pasta sauce is made with just garlic, olive oil, and some of the reserved starchy water that was used to cook the pasta. And I make mine no differently! But I did pick up a hack for cooking the pasta from Food52 recently, and it’s made my garlic olive oil pasta sauce even BETTER…

So what is it? Well, instead of bringing a pot of salted water to boil and then adding the pasta, you lay the pasta in the bottom of a large skillet, add salt and just enough cold water to cover it, and then bring it to a boil.

The resulting pasta cooking water is much thicker, with a higher starch content, which gives this simple olive oil pasta sauce more richness and body.

From there, I prepare the recipe in the traditional manner. The olive oil is gently heated in a skillet and then used to cook thinly sliced garlic until it’s just starting to brown around the edges. The reserved pasta water is added to the garlic/olive oil mixture and then brought to a boil to emulsify the sauce.

Finally, add in the cooked noodles, and you have a delicious garlic and olive oil pasta in just about 15 minutes!

garlic and olive oil pasta plated and topped with fresh chopped parsley

Topping Off Garlic and Olive Oil Pasta

If you really want to take your olive oil pasta to the next level, you can add a few additional ingredients.

Toss in about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes when the garlic is nearly done sautéing. And then stir in a handful of fresh minced flat leaf parsley and a cup or so of freshly grated Parmesan cheese after tossing the spaghetti noodles with the olive oil pasta sauce.

Oh, and last, but certainly not least? The secret to a truly indulgent aglio e olio is a generous drizzle of extra fresh olive oil at the end to highlight the high-quality olive oil that is a MUST for this recipe. Now enjoy!

olive oil pasta recipe on a white plate with a gold fork

Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic (Aglio e Olio)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This classic pasta with olive oil and garlic (aka Pasta Aglio e Olio) is easy enough for weeknight meals but classy enough for a date night or entertaining guests!


Simple Aglio e Olio

  • 1-lb. dried spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil, like Carbonell Cordobesa
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional Add-Ins

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Add the dried spaghetti to a large skillet, and cover the noodles fully with cold water. Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to the water. Cook over medium heat until the water begins to boil. Continue to boil for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are pliable but still al dente (slightly underdone). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.
  2. When the pasta is done cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, shallow pot that's large enough to hold the cooked spaghetti noodles. Add the sliced garlic, and cook for 2 minutes or until it is just starting to turn golden brown around the edges. If using the red pepper flakes, add them at this time and cook for 30 seconds more.
  3. Carefully add the reserved pasta cooking water to the garlic and olive oil mixture and bring to a boil. And I do mean carefully -- it will spatter. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the drained pasta to the olive oil pasta sauce and toss to coat. Remove from the heat, and season with additional salt (if necessary) and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss the pasta with the minced fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmesan, as desired. Serve warm with an extra drizzle of olive oil and additional grated Parmesan cheese on the side.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 266Total Fat: 9.4gSaturated Fat: 1.2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 233.8mgCarbohydrates: 33.8gFiber: 4.1gSugar: 2.0gProtein: 8.2g

Nutrition is calculated based on a 1.5 cup serving of the simple aglio e olio ingredients.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

pasta with garlic and olive oil served on a white plate with chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese

What to Serve With Olive Oil Pasta?

With a simple dish like this garlic and olive oil pasta, you might be tempted to go a little upscale with the sides. Resist the urge! A simple salad, some quick & easy garlic bread, and a glass of white wine are all you need for a magnifico meal.

Some recipes to try:

  • This easy Italian chopped salad recipe features just 4 ingredients: romaine lettuce, radicchio, cannellini beans, and sun-dried tomatoes. Dressed with a simple red wine vinaigrette, it’s a tasty & quick side dish!
  • And this homemade garlic bread instantly elevates any meal. Made with just 5 ingredients, you can have it on the table in just about 15 minutes!
  • Or pick up a loaf of crusty bread from the bakery and pair it with this Italian herb bread dipping oil!

P.S. If you love the ease of this olive oil and garlic pasta sauce, I think you’ll also adore this super simple cream cheese pasta sauce!

I’d love to see how your pasta with olive oil and garlic turns out… Tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check it out. Enjoy!


Monday 1st of May 2023

I made this today for dinner added some white with wine and chicken, julian cut sun dry tomatoes with its olive oil and black olives, also added some scallion thinly cut. It came out delicioso y expectacular. It look so pretty also. Thank you.

Chris Cuomo

Saturday 14th of January 2023

I never trust anyone who calls spaghetti "Noodles".


Tuesday 30th of May 2023

@Chris Cuomo,

I also don't trust people who put pasta in water before it even boils


Wednesday 21st of December 2022

How can this be sodium free when parmesan cheese is high in sodium as well as added salt to noodles. I am on a restricted salt diet.

Tara Kuczykowski

Wednesday 21st of December 2022

Hi Kathy! The calculations come after the header, so this has 233.8mg of sodium per serving.


Monday 14th of November 2022

So excited to try ! Reminds me of childhood and my family.

Laura Reese

Thursday 8th of August 2019

This is so great. I’ve got a child who can’t eat spaghetti sauce this recipe was a great option.

Skip to Recipe