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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Locy

Spaghetti con Olio e Aglio

Prepare yourself to be transported to the bustling streets of Rome, Italy! This classic Italian way of cooking spaghetti will have all my garlic lovers doing a happy dance in their kitchen! With fresh lemon and parsley, toasted garlic, and spicy red pepper flakes, this dish will make anyone and everyone go back for seconds!

Pasta! Pasta! Pasta! Who doesn't love pasta?! It takes on any flavor, its fun to eat, and the best part, it's carbs! Any shape of pasta, any pasta sauce, baked or sautéed, pasta is one of the best foods on this planet and nobody can change my mind! And when you pair it with a bunch of garlic, oh my gosh, heaven! When I first had this specific pasta dish, I was in Rome and I was in shock with how something so simple could taste so good. Since that one meal in Italy, I have tried multiple different techniques to recreate what I ate and I finally managed to do just that! Allow me to give you my tips and secrets to transform your kitchen into an Italian resort!

Every ingredient in this dish is important for its own reason. The lemon adds a bright acidity that balances out the richness of the olive oil. The fresh parsley cuts through the buttery parmesan, while the parmesan gives the pasta a tangy, saltiness. The coarse sea salt seasons the pasta but also gives it some texture and crunch. The red pepper flakes adds the perfect amount of spice and the garlic is the main event in this decadent dish.

The way you cook the garlic makes or breaks this pasta, trust me. If it is too toasted, the garlic gives off a bitter flavor that can overpower the entire dish. The garlic to the left is completely raw, just placed into the pan. The garlic to the right is what it should look like once cooked. You can tell it is still a little translucent in the middle and just starting to get golden brown around the edges. A method that helps make sure you don't over-cook the garlic is to put the garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes into the pan before you put it onto the heat, then start the burner. This ensures that you everything heats up at the same temperature. If you were to heat up olive oil and then put the garlic in once the pan is hot, you don't know the exact temperature of the olive oil. This can cause the garlic to sear and possibly burn due to the high heat of the oil. So, low and slow is the best method!

Once the garlic is perfect, take the pasta directly out of the water with some tongs and place into the pan with the olive oil and garlic. Do not use a strainer! Just from one pot to another! This makes sure there is some pasta water left on the pasta to help thicken the sauce. Its also a good idea to save about a 1/2 a cup of pasta water and set to the side just in case you need more. Add all the other ingredients and serve immediately!

This is the easiest pasta ever and great for serving to friends for a dinner party or for a solo lunch all to yourself! Buon Appetito! Mangiamo!!

Spaghetti con Olio e Aglio

Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 20 min

Total time: 30 min

Cuisine: Italian, Vegan

Servings: 4 Category: Entrée, Pasta

1 lb spaghetti, dry

1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin

6-8 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp red pepper flake **

1/2 tsp sea salt, coarse

3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, fresh, chopped

1 lemon, juice

1/2 cup vegan parmesan **


1. Fill a large pot with water and follow directions on pasta box until aldente.

2. In a large sauce pan, put olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and place on medium-low heat until garlic is translucent on the inside and slightly golden brown around the edges.

3. Once pasta and garlic are done, take pasta directly out of the water with a pair of tongs and place into the saucepan with the garlic. Do not strain in a strainer! Also save about a 1/2 of a cup of pasta water, before you expose of it down the sink, just in case you would like to thicken up the sauce later on.

4. Incorporate the pasta into the oil and garlic until well coated, add more olive oil if necessary.

5. Mix in the lemon juice, parsley, sea salt, and parmesan.

6. Serve immediately with more parsley and parmesan on top and some crusty bread on the side! Enjoy!


** You may adjust the red pepper flake to your liking, if you do not like super spicy start with 1/4 tsp first.

** My favorite brand of vegan parmesan is Follow You Heart which can be found at most grocery stores in the produce section near the tofu and other vegan cheeses.

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