What to make when you can’t think of anything else to make: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Garlic and Oil)

Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil

 At this point i am so busy prepping for the holiday, shopping lists, etc. i don’t have so much time to think about tonight’s dinner,This is one of those meals that I go to when I haven’t prepared anything, have run out of ideas but have garlic, olive oil, spaghetti and parmesan cheese in the house. Even if you don’t have ingredients, you can always run out and pick up those few items and throw this dish together, it’s awesome. It works for company as well as a side dish or a main, with a beautiful, green salad. You can always add shrimp, which makes for a truly outstanding dish.


1 box spaghetti (16 oz.)

1/3 cup olive oil

8 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced

Kosher salt

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)


Cook pasta according to directions on package. Save about 2 cups of the pasta water before you drain the pasta.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot (large enough to hold the pasta; a large sauté pan is perfect.) Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently without burning the garlic (be careful!). Add the red pepper flakes. Add the reserved cooking water from pasta to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1 tsp kosher salt and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until liquid is reduced by about a third.

Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and give it a good toss. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and parmesan and toss to coat well. Allow the pasta to sit for a few minutes or until the sauce is absorbed. Taste for seasonings and serve with additional parmesan cheese on the side.

*If I use shrimp in this, which I sometimes do, I just sauté the shrimp in garlic and oil and skip the parmesan cheese. (About 1/4 lb shrimp per person.) For me and Joel, I use approx 1/2 lb raw shrimp. For 4 people, I use a pound. You can also add broccoli and keep it vegetarian.

3 responses to “What to make when you can’t think of anything else to make: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Garlic and Oil)

  1. a staple for me when i was single and poor, with broccoli

  2. Reblogged this on Cooking with Candi and commented:

    Re-blog Monday and this is the pasta I go to when I don’t know what else to make. I almost always can scare up these ingredients in my house and it’s good and comforting any time of the year. Original post was September ’11. Enjoy this heartwarming recipe.

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