Emergency Weekday Meal: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

ManMade Spaghetti Aglio e Oglio Recipe

Your kid is sick; your wife has a late meeting; the two-hundred dollars in groceries you bought last weekend was ephemeral. Enter: spaghetti aglio e olio. Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. Sounds almost pointlessly simple, but if you make it right, it’s deceptively good. Fast, easy, and you always have the ingredients on hand. Here’s how:

ManMade Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti
  • Olive Oil (the better, the better)
  • Garlic (fresh if you can; I always keep a jar of minced garlic around just in case)
  • Chopped Parsley (optional but makes a noticeable difference)
  • Lemon
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt, pepper

Chopped parsely

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, heat about three-tablespoons of olive oil over low heat in a skillet. Once it’s warm (not smoking), add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper (to taste) and about two tablespoons of minced garlic. You want at least equal parts garlic and olive oil.

Keep the garlic going over low heat; it should eventually turn straw-brown and get foamy. Don’t let it burn, as that will ruin the flavor. You want to cook it slow to bring out the sweetness. Around 10-15 minutes.

Sauteed garlic

Cook your spaghetti (you can use any pasta you like) according to the directions (usually around 10 minutes for al dente). Strain and rinse with cold water briefly. In a large bowl, toss the spaghetti with a little more olive oil (1-2 tbs.) and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Sprinkle with chopped parsely

When your garlic is done (it should be sweet and smoky, not bitter or tangy), toss that in. Then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and cover with parmesan (lots, if you’re me). Season with salt and pepper to taste*. That’s it! 

Squeeze that lemon!

I often do this with a side of sauteed brussel sprouts, which are also really easy, but I’ll leave that for another blog post.

*Recipes tell you to season with salt and pepper to taste for a reason! Don’t skip that part! Learn to taste your cooking and know what flavors are missing/wrong, and fix them.