Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic


I am officially in my comfort zone.  You say pasta, I say YES.. I only have 2 questions for you  What kind and when?

It’s very hard for me to choose which pasta and sauce is my favorite. It really depends on my mood.  I love pasta with olive oil and garlic because it’s so simple and so satisfying.  I also love Vodka sauce and Palomino sauce…Arrabiata and Puttanesca.  Come to think of it there are few sauces I don’t like (surprise, surprise).  But olive oil and garlic, now that’s old school.  In Italian it’s called spaghetti aglio e olio, but that’s a mouthful.

I first started making it when I was young and a newlywed (a long, long time ago).  My husband loves it and I couldn’t make it fast enough for him.  Looking back, I see all the mistakes I made.  Thankfully, he ate it anyway.  (I think he likes me)

Despite being one of the easier pasta sauces to make, when making pasta with olive oil and garlic you need to be careful of a few things.  My biggest warning is: Don’t let your garlic burn.  If it does, toss it and start over.  Burned garlic turns bitter and can upset your stomach.  The crushed red pepper has to go in at the same time as the garlic.  Heating them up together releases the most flavor and gives the sauce the kick it needs.  Make sure you put in enough salt.   You’ll think you are over-salting it, but this dish takes quite a bit even though the parmesan brings its own saltiness.  Salting takes some getting used to, but you’ll get there.  Also, don’t drain the pasta in a colander.  You need the excess water so it doesn’t stick to itself (think pasta water).   Parmesan is a necessity…as is all cheese!  The garlic powder is an extra and the basil leaves are a bonus.  I tell you in the video you can use Italian flat parsley instead of the basil even though I think most people use Italian parsely.  And you can but I had fresh basil in my garden, so I used it.  The difference is that the parsley will bring a out a little bit more an earthy flavor while the basil will bring out a little bit of sweetness.  Both are good, I just use what I have fresh or what I have a taste for.  That’s it, those are the rules to live by when making this sauce.

I had to make this recipe countless times through the years to get it right, and I think I have.  So please don’t get discouraged.  Practice makes perfect, right?  It’s very simple but there is a little bit of art to it – just make sure you don’t burn the garlic and you’ll be fine.

Make the pasta, eat the pasta, and tell me how it turned out.  I want to know everything!


Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic


  • 1 lb pasta

For pasta water:

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil

For sauce:

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, flattened
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 3-4 basil leaves, fresh or Italian flat parsley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp parmesan



When making your olive and garlic sauce, start with a large pot of water add salt and olive oil and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook.

3-4 minutes before pasta is done cooking add 2 cups of olive oil to a large saucepan pan or fry pan.  Add garlic cloves, crushed red pepper and basil.  Heat on medium until you start to smell the garlic.  DO NOT burn the garlic.  Heat until pasta is done.  Using a pasta grabber or tongs, remove the pasta from the water and add to the olive oil.  Continue until all the pasta is in the sauce pan.  Add salt, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to serving dish.  Top with fresh ground pepper and parmesan.  Serve.