The Italian language can make just about anything sound romantic and frilly, and this dish is a pretty great example of that. Though pasta aglio e olio sounds elegant, it translates to “pasta with garlic and oil”. Woah-hoh!
But, there is a bit more to it than that.
This dish is created by lightly simmering sliced garlic in olive oil and, if you know what’s good for you, dried red chili flakes. This oily goodness is tossed with your fave long pasta — typically spaghetti — as well as freshly chopped parsley, and some parmesan or pecorino-romano. Some recipes will tell you to nix the cheese, but not *this* recipe.
(Who denies cheese, ever? Ridiculous.)
Though my husband has always spoken highly of this dish, I wasn’t too interested until I saw David Rocco’s recipe on David Rocco’s Dolce Vita.
Two words: toasted breadcrumbs.
At first blush, I thought adding carbs to carbs was hella sinful and something I should avoid, but heck no. How many of us eat bread with our pasta?
Exactly. You’re welcome.
Despite the breadcrumbs, this dish might seem pretty pedestrian — but it manages to shine in all of its simplicity. It’s light and delicate in flavor, but it’s totally what you make of it. If you’re a garlic fiend like myself, you can add tons of garlic; if you like your pasta spicy, turn up the heat and go batshit crazy with the chili flakes.
This dish takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and calls for six measly ingredients that you likely have in your pantry right now. What is there to not love? Add this to your weeknight meal plan stat, friends.
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15-Minute Pasta Aglio Olio With Toasty Bread Crumbs
This 15-minute wonder is what it's all about. Simple yet flavorful, pasta aglio olio pleases garlic lovers and chili lovers alike; the toasted breadcrumbs are a welcomed bonus.
- 1 lb angel hair pasta can substitute spaghetti
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 8 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
- 3 crushed dried chili peppers can substitute with chili flakes; 1/2 tsp+ chili flakes
- 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley finely chopped
Toss the breadcrumbs and parsley in a small, dry saucepan. Toast over medium-low heat until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Always keep a close eye on the breadcrumbs, because once they start to brown, they brown very quickly! Once the breadcrumbs are golden and fragrant, set aside.
Bring salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Boil for approx. 2 minutes or until almost al dente (refer to packaging for timing — different noodles vary in cooking time, but angel hair doesn't take long to cook). Ladle a spoonful or two of pasta water into a separate bowl and set aside; drain pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and the chill flakes. Simmer until the garlic is fragrant and slightly golden. Don't brown the garlic, or you'll get a bitter flavor.
Once the pasta is ready, add the pasta to the oil, garlic, and chill flakes. Add the reserved pasta water, and toss to coat, cooking for another minute or so.
Before serving, add the breadcrumbs and parsley, and toss to coat. Garnish with extra fresh parsley (optional).