Pasta aglio olio

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Recipe by Damaris Beems Course: MainCuisine: Italian




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This dish consists of 4 ingredients: olive oil, garlic, (red) chili pepper and pasta. It took me a while to prepare a pasta aglio olio that scored an A on my own report. I just could not get it totally right. One night I was having diner with Italian colleagues in Milan and I asked them: how do you prepare a good pasta aglio olio. Well, the evening turned into a heated discussion. I had no clue that a simple dish with 4 ingredients could be the source of so much discussion. Grandma, mum, sister, aunty, the beloved neighbour, all their secret recipes brought at the table. Well, this is my version… But, I did learn that evening what the secret magic to a great pasta aglio olio is… read the preparation of the recipe.


  • 1 package spaghetti

  • 150 ml of your best olive oil

  • 1 red chili pepper

  • 7 cloves garlic

  • sea salt and pepper


  • Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package.
  • In the mean time you mash the garlic cloves and cut the red pepper in small pieces.
  • Preheat a thick bottomed pan. Heat the olive oil. When the spaghetti is going to be ready in 4 minutes, you add the garlic and the red pepper in the pan with olive oil. Together with the salt and pepper. Stir gently and let the flavours release themselves. Now it’s all about timing. That’s the top secret of a great pasta aglio olio. The spaghetti and the olive oil need to have the same temperature, more or less. That’s how the olive oil will sync best with the pasta.
  • So, drain the spaghetti. Let it steam for a short while and then add it in the pan with the olive oil. Stir stir stir fiercely in order for everything to mix well. And then it’s time to attack.

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