Get ready to fall in love with Aglio e Olio—a traditional Italian dish featuring pasta tossed with garlic and olive oil. It’s perfect for a quick and simple weeknight meal. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top to elevate this dish to a whole new level of deliciousness!
This Aglio e Olio recipe is perfect for families because it’s quick to make, uses simple ingredients that are likely already in your pantry, and appeals to both kids and adults alike. The flavors are mild yet satisfying, making it a crowd-pleaser.
It’s also totally customizable—you can adjust the amount of garlic or spice to suit your family’s preferences. With minimal prep and cooking time, it’s ideal for busy weeknights when you want a wholesome meal without a lot of fuss.
Ingredients for Aglio e Olio
Delight in simplicity with Aglio e Olio: pasta, garlic, olive oil—topped with Parmesan for a flavor-packed family dinner in under 30 minutes!
- Spaghetti (or any pasta): Provides the base for the dish, soaking up the flavors of garlic and olive oil.
- Garlic: Infuses the dish with its aromatic flavor, creating the signature taste of Aglio e Olio.
- Red pepper flakes (optional): Adds a hint of heat for those who enjoy a spicy kick.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Forms the foundation of the sauce, coating the pasta and enhancing its richness.
- Salt & pepper: Essential for seasoning, balancing flavors, and bringing out the taste of the other ingredients.
- Optional Garnishes:
- Chopped parsley: Adds freshness and a pop of color to the dish, enhancing its visual appeal.
- Grated Parmesan cheese: Offers a creamy, salty finish that complements the garlic and olive oil flavors, elevating the dish to another level of indulgence.
How to Make Aglio e Olio
Follow these simple steps to create a mouthwatering Aglio e Olio: boil pasta until al dente, sauté minced garlic in olive oil until golden, toss with pasta, season, and garnish with parsley and Parmesan for a sensational family dinner!
- Cook pasta until al dente, then drain.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet.
- Sauté minced garlic until golden.
- Toss pasta in garlic oil, season, and serve with optional red pepper flakes, parsley, and Parmesan. Enjoy!
Why this Recipe Works
This recipe works because it harmoniously combines simple ingredients, allowing each flavor to shine. The garlic is sautéed to golden perfection, infusing the olive oil with its aromatic essence, while the pasta cooks to al dente perfection.
The addition of optional red pepper flakes provides a kick for those who enjoy spice, and garnishes like parsley and Parmesan add freshness and richness. The result is a quick, flavorful dish that’s sure to please the whole family.
Recipe Tips and Kitchen Tricks
- Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Cook the garlic gently to avoid burning, as it can quickly turn bitter.
- Customize the dish to your taste by adjusting the amount of garlic or adding more red pepper flakes for extra heat.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese for a burst of color and flavor.
- Experiment with different pasta shapes for variety.
- Double the recipe for leftovers—Aglio e Olio tastes just as delicious the next day!
- Vegetarian Aglio e Olio: Toss in sautéed vegetables like cherry tomatoes, spinach, or mushrooms for added flavor and nutrients.
- Vegan Aglio e Olio: Omit the Parmesan cheese and use nutritional yeast as a dairy-free alternative for a delicious vegan version.
- Lemon Aglio e Olio: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the pasta before serving for a bright, citrusy kick.
- Creamy Aglio e Olio: Mix in a splash of heavy cream or add a dollop of creamy goat cheese for a luxurious twist.
- Mushroom Aglio e Olio: Sauté sliced mushrooms with garlic for a hearty and earthy variation.
- Pesto Aglio e Olio: Stir in a spoonful of pesto sauce for a flavorful and vibrant twist on the classic recipe.
- Bacon Aglio e Olio: Cook bacon until crisp and crumble it over the pasta for a salty and savory addition.
- Garlic Bread: Serve alongside warm garlic bread for a deliciously indulgent meal.
- Green Salad: Pair with a crisp green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette for a refreshing contrast.
- Caprese Salad: Accompany with a classic Caprese salad of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic reduction for a simple yet elegant side dish.
- Roasted Vegetables: Serve alongside roasted vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, or carrots for a hearty and nutritious meal.
Storing, freezing, and reheating instructions
To store leftover Aglio e Olio, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze, portion the cooled pasta into freezer-safe containers or bags, removing as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 2-3 months.
When ready to reheat, thaw frozen pasta overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in a skillet over low heat, adding a splash of water or olive oil to revive the sauce. Alternatively, microwave in short intervals, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
Avoid overcooking when reheating to prevent the pasta from becoming mushy. Garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan before serving to refresh the flavors.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use other types of pasta for Aglio e Olio?
Yes, you can use any type of pasta you prefer. Spaghetti is traditional, but other shapes like linguine, fettuccine, or penne work well too.
How much garlic should I use?
It depends on personal preference, but a good rule of thumb is to use 3-4 cloves per serving. Adjust according to your taste.
What can I substitute for Parmesan cheese?
If you don’t have Parmesan, you can use Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano. For a vegan option, nutritional yeast adds a similar cheesy flavor.
Is Aglio e Olio spicy?
It can be if you add red pepper flakes, but the level of spiciness is adjustable. You can omit the red pepper flakes entirely or adjust the amount to suit your taste preferences.
Remember, personal preferences play a role, so feel free to explore and discover your favorite pairings!
Family-Friendly Drink Pairings:
- Freshly squeezed lemonade
- Iced tea with a splash of peach or raspberry syrup
- Sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime
- Pinot Grigio: Its crisp acidity and light body complement the garlic and olive oil flavors without overpowering the dish.
- Sauvignon Blanc: With its herbal notes and zesty acidity, it pairs well with the freshness of parsley and Parmesan.
- Chardonnay: A buttery Chardonnay can complement the richness of the dish, especially with added cream or cheese.
- Classic Mojito: The minty freshness and lime tang of a Mojito refresh the palate between bites.
- Aperol Spritz: The bittersweet notes of Aperol and the fizziness of prosecco cleanse the palate and enhance the flavors.
- Gin and Tonic: The botanicals in gin complement the herbal notes of parsley, while the effervescence of tonic water refreshes the palate.
- Wheat Beer (Hefeweizen): Its light, fruity notes and effervescence contrast nicely with the garlic and olive oil.
- Belgian Tripel: The complexity of a Tripel, with its fruity esters and spicy phenols, can complement the flavors of the dish.
- Pilsner: Crisp and refreshing, a Pilsner cleanses the palate between bites and pairs well with the simplicity of the dish.
Aglio E Olio – Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil
- 8 ounces Spaghetti (or any pasta you like)
- 4 cloves Garlic , minced
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente (firm but not too soft). Remember to salt the water for flavor!
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook it gently until it’s golden brown and fragrant, but be careful not to burn it (it can happen quickly!).
- If you like a little kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the skillet along with the garlic. This step is optional.
- Once the pasta is cooked, use tongs to transfer it directly from the pot to the skillet with the garlic and oil. Don’t worry if some of the pasta water comes along—it helps create a silky sauce.
- Toss the pasta with the garlic and oil until it’s well coated. If it seems dry, you can add a splash more olive oil or pasta water.
- Taste and season with salt as needed.
- Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy your delicious Aglio e Olio!