What if I told you that you could have super good Italian food in about 10 minutes for about a buck? Would you believe me?
Well then, prepare to believe.
This is one of the dishes I make most in my household… Spaghetti Olio e Aglio–literally, Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Garlic. It has to be tasted to be believed, because you probably never imagined food this simple could taste this good even when it takes less time to prepare than sitting in a drive-thru.
Spaghetti Olio e Aglio is something I’ve been making for over a decade. It’s got more lives than a cat and more stamina than the participants of an iron man competition. The reason for this? It’s the most versatile dish you’ll ever add to your repertoire. It’s three ingredients, not including salt and pepper. In fact, chances are good that you’ve probably got everything you need to make it right now, which makes it a lifesaver when you need to go grocery shopping.
But it doesn’t have to be just three ingredients.
Spaghetti Olio e Aglio is also the basis of what I like to call “the fridge cleaner.” Because you can add pretty much anything to it you want to, and it’ll taste like a brand new dish, every time. This makes it excellent for using up leftover pre-cooked meats and veggies, small bits of cheese, pantry goods like canned sun dried tomatoes or roasted peppers, and individual stray whatsits from the vegetable bin like that one leftover portabello mushroom you can’t figure out what to do with. You just give them a quick saute in the oil before adding the pasta back to the pot.
I personally never have this problem, but if you have a few ounces of leftover wine? Throw that in while you’re sauteing vegetables too and give it a couple of minutes to let the bite of the alcohol burn off before putting the pasta in.
You can even get super crafty and add the leftovers from previous jars of sauces or pestos.
Dietary restrictions? No problemo. Just don’t add whatever you or your guest can’t have. Add a veggies only, and you’ve got an instant vegan crowd-pleaser. In fact, this recipe also survived my transcendence into gluten-free simply by using a good gluten-free pasta.
I’m telling ya, you need this recipe in your life.
And use real, not-from-a-jar garlic cloves. I promise you, it’s worth it. If you find them a PITA to peel, just crush them with the side of your knife first and you’ll find that the skins come off easy.
- 1lb (450g) spaghetti or other pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- coarse salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook for recommended time on the package, or until al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, set the olive oil to heat in a smaller saucepan on low heat. Add the garlic to the olive oil with a pinch of salt, raise the heat to medium low, and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the garlic turns golden. Remove from heat.
- Drain the pasta, set the original pot on a hot pad and return the pasta to the pot. Pour olive oil and garlic over the top and toss, adding salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.
- Saute any vegetables you'd like to add in the olive oil with the garlic, but if cooking harder vegetables, you may want to add the garlic later. Do not let garlic burn.