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Aglio e Olio (It’s Italian, Dummy)

This dish is an Italian late-night staple. It’s the epitome of simple, and is often referred to as “midnight pasta” because it’s simple enough to throw together after a night on the town. It’s garlicky, lemony, herbaceous, and surprisingly satiating.


  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 3 oz spaghetti

  • handful fresh parsley

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 tsp chili flakes

  • 1 lemon

  • 2 tbsp parmesan

  • 1 large skillet

  • 1 measuring cup

  • 1 pot

Step 1 - prep

Fill up your large pot about halfway with water and set over high heat to start boiling. Add a huge pinch of salt to the water. This ensures that your pasta will be seasoned and your Italian friend will finally respect you.

Peel and slice four cloves of your garlic. We're slicing the garlic into rounds by cutting perpendicular to the length of each clove. We're keeping the pieces larger because garlic burns easily, and we're going to be cooking it over direct heat for a while!

Chop up about a handful of your fresh parsley into small pieces. Try to get a pretty fine chop so the parsley can get really evenly distributed later on. Set aside, prep is key!

In a pan or skillet, heat up about 4 tbsp or 1/4 a cup of olive oil over medium-low heat. It’s a lot we know, but Aglio e Olio translates directly to garlic and olive oil!

Step 2 - start your cookin'

Once your water comes to a boil, drop in about half a box of your dried pasta and cook according to directions on the back of the box. Box knows best!

Once your oil is hot, add your chopped garlic to the pan and take a moment to savor that unbeatable aroma. Seriously do it. Season the garlic with a pinch of salt.

Gently cook the garlic until you start to see the edges of your slices brown a little bit. At this point, turn off the heat and add about ½ tsp of chili flakes to the oil and garlic and stir it in.

Step 3 - combine!

Once your pasta is done cooking, collect about a cup of pasta water in a measuring cup or mug and set aside.

Transfer the pasta into your oil, garlic, and chili flake mixture. Add your fresh squeeze of lemon, your chopped parsley, and another pinch of salt and pepper.

Add a big splash of pasta water and stir a good amount to combine the water with the fat of the oil. It might take more stirring than you think, but it will combine! Add more splashes of pasta water and repeat the stirring until the mixture looks nice and glossy on the noodles.

Plate and top with parmesan, more chili flakes, or whatever else you want and enjoy! You’re not quite Italian yet, but this dish will have people believing that you’re at least from Jersey.

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