There are nights when we want to pull out all the stops on a fancy mac and cheese, and there are nights when we’ll do almost anything to not make dinner. Spaghetti aglio e olio is for those nights. Our version of the traditional Neapolitan pasta dish takes just 20 minutes to make (and calls for only five ingredients).
A few tips come dinnertime: One, you’ll want to use a good quality olive oil, since it’s one of the stars of this recipe. And two, cook the oil-garlic mixture in a large, high-sided skillet (or better yet, a Dutch oven) so you’re free to toss vigorously when you add the noodles. It’ll make achieving a glossy sauce *that much* easier.
12 ounces long strand pasta (such as spaghetti, bucatini or linguine)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
Finely grated Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley and flaky salt, to garnish (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with kosher salt. Cook the pasta until just shy of al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package directions). Use a liquid measuring cup to reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is sizzling and golden, about 3 minutes.
3. Using tongs, transfer the pasta from the water directly into the olive oil and garlic mixture. Add about ½ of the reserved pasta water, and cook, tossing vigorously, until the sauce lightly coats the pasta. (You can add more pasta water as needed.)
4. Divide the pasta among four bowls, and garnish with more pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese, parsley and flaky salt, if using.