spaghetti all’olio e aglio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil)

spaghetti all'aglio e olio

I’ve dreamed of making spaghetti all’olio e aglio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil) ever since I watched the 2014 movie Chef. In the movie Jon Favreau plays an out-of-shape chef in a creative rut. The first glimpse of his love for pure, good cooking comes through when he cooks a seductively simple dish of pasta tossed with olive oil, golden brown garlic with fresh parsley and lemon. Favreau presents his pasta offering to Scarlett Johansson’s character, the beautiful hostess from Favreau’s restaurant, who takes one bite of the pasta, closes her eyes, and savors flavor ecstasy.

spaghetti all'aglio e olio

That scene perfectly represents the power of simple fresh ingredients cooked with care and love. This pasta all’olio e aglio has become a weeknight go-to in our house. We pair it with chicken sausages and a green salad for a balanced, delicious meal.

spaghetti all'olio e aglio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil)

This recipe was featured in my August Issue of Supper Club Magazine.  Get the i-phone friendly version along with the full shopping list by signing up for Supper Club Magazine!

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spaghetti all’olio e aglio (spaghetti with garlic and olive oil)

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  • Author: Sep Esmaili Campos
  • Yield: serves 2-4 1x


  •  ½ pound dried spaghetti
  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (can use 1/4 teaspoon for less heat)
  • ½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • ½ cup grated parmesan + extra for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add enough salt so that the water tastes like the sea, 2-3 Tablespoons. 
  2. While the water is coming up to a boil, thinly slice the garlic cloves.
  3. Combine the sliced garlic and cold olive oil in a large saute pan with tall sides. Heat slowly over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the garlic starts to soften and turns light brown, 5-8 minutes. If the garlic is browning too quickly, lower the heat.
  4. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water, bring it back up to a boil and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest of the spaghetti in a colander. 
  5. When the pasta is cooked and drained, add the red pepper flakes to the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the hot spaghetti to the garlic and olive oil, toss with chopped parsley, and the juice of 1 lemon. Add some of the reserved pasta water if necessary to help form a sauce.
  7. Off the heat, add the grated parmesan. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve warm with extra parmesan on the side.


If the garlic burns or turns too dark, it will become bitter. Only add the chili flakes once the pasta is cooked because leaving the chili in the oil too long will make the pasta too spicy.

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