This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Pasta Aglio e Olio is easy to make, delicious to eat and the sexiest pasta recipe I know. In about 20 minutes you’ll be serving glistening pasta loaded with olive oil, toasty garlic, fresh parsley, zesty lemon juice and a kick of crushed red pepper.

Pasta Aglio e Olio served on white plates with linen napkins

Has a movie ever inspired you to buy a cooking utensil? The movie Chef made me buy a carving fork, but not for the traditional use. I watched Jon Favreau use one to twist Pasta Aglio e Olio into a gorgeous spiral, and I had to have it.

You’ve seen the movie, right? Granted, the language is a little rough. But the food! To say that this movie is seductive doesn’t really cover it. Really, how do you make a grilled cheese looks that sexy. And the Cubano, oh, the Cubano – that my friend, Nagi did a lovely job of recreating.

The first time I made Pasta Aglio e Olio, this may sound like sacrilege but, I thought: ‘This is better than mac and cheese!’ I was tempted to decrease the amount of olive oil – 1/3 cup for two people borders on obscene, doesn’t it? But it’s the perfect amount for this pasta dish. The pasta is silky, not greasy. And the play of fresh parsley and lemon zing, with the subtle heat of crushed red pepper and copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, well…you’re just going to have to try it.

Serve With

Serve this with a simple vegetable like Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower or Zucchini Salad. And for a lighter riff on this dish, try Lemon Garlic Pasta. And Chocolate Panna Cotta or Affogato for dessert.

And for a few other super simple, mouthwatering Italian pastas, try my Bucatini Cacio e Pepe or Bucatini Carbonara (no-fail methods!), Gemelli Pasta with Lemon and Garlic or Tuna Pasta (with a no-cook sauce)!

How to Make Pasta Aglio e Olio

Step 1: Cook pasta according to package ingredients until al dente. Drain, reserving a cup or more of the cooking water.

Putting Pasta on to Boil

Step 2: Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add sliced garlic cloves and stir just until toasted. Add crushed red pepper flakes and pasta; remove from heat and toss to coat.

Adding Crushed Red Pepper to oil and garlic
Adding Pasta to olive oil garlic and crushed red pepper

Step 3: Add fresh parsley and lemon juice and toss again. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve!

Adding Parsley
Tossing Pasta to Coat
Plating Pasta

Pasta Aglio e Olio Recipe Video

Pasta Aglio e Olio {Pasta with Garlic and Oil}

4.93 from 13 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 866
Servings: 2 people
Inspired by the movie Chef, this is truly one of my new comfort foods!


  • 8 ounces spaghetti or linguine
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more! how hot do you like it?)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, until al dente. (see recipe note) Drain, reserving 1 or more cups of the cooking liquid. 
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir until garlic is tender and very lightly brown (take care not to burn it!). Stir in crushed red pepper. Add pasta and remove from heat; gently toss to coat, adding pasta water if you like to reach your desired consistency.
  • Add parsley and lemon juice and toss again. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.


If possible, time the cooking of your pasta to coincide with the sauce so you can use a pasta spoon to scoop it directly into the pan, bringing with it some of the cooking liquid.


Calories: 866kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 415mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1629IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 338mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Leave a comment & rate the recipe below!

Related Recipes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Patricia says:

    5 stars
    I used a medium sized spaghetti squash. It was delicious!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      What a fun twist on the recipe!