When it comes to classic Italian pasta recipes, spaghetti aglio e olio is a very popular dish. This is a quick and tasty first course that is easy to prepare and allows for few changes. Usually you only need 4 simple ingredients, such as spaghetti, garlic, olive oil and red peppers. In addition, the classic pasta dishes are on almost all menus in Italian restaurants. So if you want to prepare your own pasta dish, here are the right recipe ideas for every taste.
Make the most of spaghetti aglio e olio
If you have invited guests but you have less time to cook, this dish will be the right choice. You don’t have to do without the flavors and aromas of the Mediterranean. Delicious, easy to prepare and versatile, the first course of pasta can be delicious with very few ingredients. This recipe also has the great advantage that the sauce is ready in a short time.
For the perfect spaghetti with garlic and butter, simply fry the garlic in the oil for a few moments. This strengthens its smell and gives the necessary taste to the pasta. However, be careful not to burn the garlic. Each cook decides how to cut this ingredient to brown it. You can tear it or slice it.
On the other hand, if you like the taste but don’t want to eat it, you can also add chopped garlic, brown it well and then remove it for a while before adding the spaghetti to the pan. For spicy lovers, there are crushed peppers or chili peppers, which make the sauce even more delicious. After the spaghetti is ready, it is poured directly into the pan and, with a side of cooking water, is mixed with the sauce, which, thanks to the starch present, helps to give the dish a light creaminess.
Tips for cooking Italian food
While Italians often use freshly cracked red peppers (peperoncini) in this dish, it can be a little more difficult to find elsewhere in the world. So, you can also use a generous sprinkling of crushed red pepper from your pantry. The key to a beautiful, glossy, fat-free sauce is to create an emulsion with the garlic butter and the magical starchy pasta water.
All you have to do is add the noodles and 1/2 cup of hot pasta water, the starch directly to the pan with the garlic oil, about a minute before the noodles are done. Then, when you toss in the noodles, all that heat and simmering helps to infuse the garlic butter into a nice glossy sauce, while the noodles soak up the extra flavors after cooking. It’s a simple tweak that’s guaranteed to take your spaghetti aglio e olio to a delicious level. So grab some garlic and olive oil and enjoy this classic pasta dish.
Ingredients for Easy Spaghetti Recipe Aglio and Olio
- Pasta: Spaghetti or linguine, fettuccine, or any type of pasta you prefer.
- Olive oil: Since olive oil is the main ingredient in this sauce, it is highly recommended that you use the highest quality olive oil you can find. This key element will definitely make a difference.
- Garlic: If you want a lot of garlic in your pasta dishes, you can use 10 to 12 cloves. However, the dish is traditionally prepared with around 4-8 holes.
- Chopped red pepper leaves: Traditional spaghetti aglio e olio is made with peperoncini (hot red peppers) which are common throughout Italy. However, since they are harder to find in other countries, as mentioned earlier, you can use dried hot pepper flakes that you fry in olive oil to bring out their best flavor.
- Favorite side dishes: The two most popular toppings for this classic Italian dish are fresh chopped parsley and/or freshly grated parmesan. You can add both, but they are completely optional.
- Cook the spaghetti in a bowl of salted boiling water until al dente, just one minute.
- Meanwhile, about 3 minutes after adding the pasta to the boiling water, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the sliced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the garlic is lightly golden.
- Toss the noodles in the sauce. Once these are done, use tongs to immediately add the pasta, along with 1/2 cup of the warm, settled pasta water.
- Turn the skewers constantly until they are coated with the sauce. If the sauce seems a little dry, add another 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water.
- Give the pasta a quick taste and add a pinch of salt and/or crushed red pepper if needed.
- Serve immediately when the dish is nice and warm, garnished with balls to match.
- Some important tips: Prepare all your ingredients. Once the noodles start cooking things move quickly. So, you can have all your ingredients laid out, cut and ready to go. It is important that the garlic does not burn. If it gets a little golden before the noodles are done, simply remove the pan from the heat until it’s time to add them. Also, don’t forget to salt the pasta water. So make sure you add a generous helping of sea salt to the water.
Possible variations of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
There are all kinds of variations you can make with this recipe. For example, don’t hesitate to combine spaghetti aglio e olio with beef or anchovies. Accordingly, it is another popular option in Italy. Finely chop some anchovies and stir them into the garlic sauce for an extra salty, fishy flavor.
Basil is also very good for this. This pasta dish also tastes great if you sprinkle some fresh chopped basil instead of parsley if you have some on hand. Also add chopped red pepper flakes. If you want your pasta to have more vegetables, you can make spaghetti aglio e olio with tomatoes.
If minced garlic isn’t your thing, feel free to mince or press it as well. You can also just crush the garlic cloves and saute them to infuse the olive oil, then remove the cloves and discard them before adding the pasta to the sauce. For example, add more protein by adding more seafood, chicken, ham, beef or salami. You can also add cooked vegetables that you like such as broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc.