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
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
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!
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. Add in the cooked noodles, and you have a delicious garlic and olive oil pasta in just about 15 minutes!
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 (aka pasta with olive oil and garlic in Italian) is a drizzling of extra fresh olive oil at the end to highlight the high-quality olive oil that is a must for this recipe. Now enjoy!
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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 crusty garlic bread, and a glass of white wine are all you need for a magnifico meal.
A couple 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!
- This easy homemade garlic bread instantly elevates any meal. Made with just 5 ingredients, you can have it on the table in just about 15 minutes!