Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil

Today I took my car in to have oil changed and tires rotated. Also I had my eyes dilated at the eye doctors, and we have a guy coming over to install a screen door, so tonight is not a good night to make a complex, time-consuming dinner. We are going to make Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil.

When we owned our olive oil shop, we always waited for the Olio Nuavo to arrive. This was the new, fresh, bitingly bitter, cloudy oil, pressed from the first harvest and yet to mellow out. It was special and we would always make this recipe with it. We don’t have any Olio Nuovo but we are still going to make this dish for dinner tonight. We have some nice fresh greens from the farmers market to complete the dish.


Author: Jim Kirkley

Serves: 2

Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil Recipe


Kosher salt
1/4 cup, extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound, spaghetti
3 garlic cloves – sliced very thinly
1 pinch, crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons, chopped fresh parsley – more to taste (optional)
1/2 lemon – zested and juiced (optional)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano – (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of very well salted water to a boil. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Start cooking the spaghetti. While it cooks, add the garlic to the pan with just enough heat so that it sizzles gently.
  3. Add the crushed red pepper flakes. When the outside edges of the garlic are just starting to brown, add 1 cup of the pasta water and a pinch of salt.
  4. Keep cooking, shaking the pan to create an emulsion, until the oil and water mixture no longer has that very harsh raw garlic flavor.
  5. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the pan, along with the chopped parsley and lemon zest, if using, tossing to coat. Serve immediately. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano if using.


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