20mn Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino

I remember the first time I ate this dish. Towards the end of our trip to Rome with my companion, we started to realize we had enjoyed the city a bit too much ; the cash was on the low-low !

We sat for what would be our last meal in the city, and I ordered the cheapest item on the menu of a rather nice restaurant ; pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino, which I remember to be less than 10€. I didn’t expect much from it though, as I had already, and I guess like many of us garlic lovers, drunkenly eaten pasta heated in a bit of olive oil with some garlic, and it wasn’t a dish to be remembered.

Once again, Italy proved me wrong. The flavours ! The garlic, intense but not overpowering, was paired with an amazing olive oil : IT’S A MATCH ! It didn’t need anything else, really, and while I appreciate the heat from the peperoncino and the freshness from the parsley, they remain optional in my view.

Years later, I tried to understand why the garlic flavour was so intense yet delicate, so I did my research. It turns out your must not heat garlic like you usually do, on medium-high heat for a few instants. On the contrary, the garlic should infuse in the oil. The lower the temperature, the better. That’s the secret of this recipe.

The time spent to pleasure ratio for this recipe is crazy. When you’re low on cash or short on time, just pick up some garlic and peperoncino, buy decent pasta, and cook this gem.

20mn Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino – Recipe

Ingredients – Advice & key points

  • Pasta :
    • I believe spaghetti is a great choice here, or any long-shaped pasta kind, as the light sauce will cling to it.
    • What you must not compromise on is using Bronze Drawn pasta. Why so ? Because when processed this way, the pasta will present small irregularities that will enable the oil-based sauce to cling to it.
  • Olive oil : As this ingredient is possibly the most important in this recipe, I strongly recommend using a good quality olive oil.

Cooking your pasta – Pieces of advice

  • Pasta :
    • Please salt your pasta water appropriately ! 10g of salt/liter is usually recommended.
    • As for most pasta recipe, we’ll finish cooking the pasta in the pan with the sauce (here, only for the last minute or two).
    • It is important that you start tasting 2 minutes before the package theoretical time, so that you get perfect al dente pasta.
  • Garlic sauce : The secret of this recipe is to start infusing your garlic in a cold pan, that you will put on your lowest temp setting. It needs to cook piano, piano, for the oil to become remarkably delicate, with the most perfect garlicky taste.

Now come and cook !

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 20 mins
Servings: 2
Best Season: Winter


This if for all my garlic lovers out here ! This pasta recipe is possibly the simplest ever, yet one of my absolute favourites. As usual with most Italian recipes, the recipe is crazy simple, buy you do need to pay attention to some important details, like the pan temperature for the garlic. But you'll be so glad you did. 



  1. Prep your ingredients

    Start boiling your pasta water.

    Thinly slice your garlic cloves. Mince your bird's eye chili and parsley if using.

    I advise you to thinly slice your garlic instead of mincing it in very small bits ; it won’t burn as easily.
  2. Let's cook !

    Before your start cooking, your might put your plates in the oven at 80°C to keep the pasta warm longer.

    To a cold pan, add your oil and your garlic. Start heating on a very, very low heat, the lowest setting you have.

    Salt your boiling water, then add your pasta.

    Check your garlic all along the remaining time. The garlic must barely sizzle, and should abolutely not burn, or even get too brown. Heat it for at least 10mn, adding 1 tablespoon oil halfway, to lower the pan temperature.

    Add the peperoncino a few minutes before the end.

    When the pasta is almost al dente, remove it with kitchen thongs and add to the garlicky oil, along with 1 ladle of pasta water. Shake vigorously, as your need to emusilfy the oil with your water to create a sauce. You can use a wooden spoon or shake your pan using your hands.

    You can add some chopped parsley if you like, or serve right away as is ! 

    Et voilà !! You're done !  

Keywords: home made, aglio olio e peperoncino, aglio e olio, , pasta, garlic, garlic pasta, garliclovers

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