Aglio Olio or Garlic Olive Oil Herbed Pasta

Aglio Olio (pic courtesy: Stock Images)

I have been making this spaghetti dish for many years now and it is my go to dish when I can’t make up my mind about what I want to eat for dinner. Husband and me both love it as we are both pasta fans, and can’t get enough of it. Its a popular late night dinner party pasta for Italians as its quick and you can do endless variations in terms of adding mushrooms, broccoli , sun-dried tomatoes, diced crispy bacon or chorizo. The possibilities are many keeping the soul of the dish intact. There is no sauce in the traditional sense but minced garlic, olive oil and chilli peppers combine to coat the spaghetti and give its clean simple flavours.

Its essential to use a good quality olive oil as it will enhance the flavour. Am not very fussed about which fresh herb to use and usually use whatever is on hand either basil or parsley. You can skip it if you don’t have fresh basil but I like the vibrant colour and fresh taste it adds to my pasta when sprinkled on top.I also add sundered tomatoes and capers for that extra bit of zing. The chilli peppers make it spicy in a good way.

Perfect for when you want to whip something up quickly which is super delicious.

Ingredients                                             Serves – 2 very hungry people!

  • 200gm dried spaghetti (I usually just go by instinct and its a fistful of pasta)
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic minced
  • 11/2 tbsp of dried red chilli peppers (use less for less heat. I like this pasta spicy)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 2tbsp fresh chopped basil or parsley
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Crushed black pepper to taste


  1. Cook pasta in a pot of heavily salted water until al dente. The pasta water should taste salty, almost sea water salty when you cook it. Drain and keep aside. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
  2. Heat a saucepan on medium flame and add olive oil and garlic. Cook until garlic becomes fragrant but not brown. This would only take 3-5mins as garlic browns very easily and once browned it tastes bitter.
  3. Add the dried chilli peppers and oregano to the mix. Add the reserved pasta water and let it bubble for a couple of minutes before turning the heat off.
  4. Add the pasta to saucepan along with sun-dried tomatoes and capers and toss it well to coat the sauce all over.
  5. Distribute it evenly onto serving plates. Top with the chopped fresh basil, crushed black pepper and parmesan shavings.

Buon apetito!


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