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This pasta dish was once a tradition that was served at the end of the meal in southern Italy.  It is now often found as a first course offering in Rome’s restaurants.  It is simple to make and very satisfying.  Make sure to read the notes about the red chiles.

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Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil & Red Chiles

  • Author: Liz
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


My mother in law made a delicious, soupy kind of spaghetti “aglio olio” which was loaded with anchovies, black pepper and salad oil.  A very rustic recipe, which dates back to the days when Italian immigrants could not afford the expensive but delicious EVOO. (Her recipe will appear on this Blog soon!).  The classic recipe, which is sometimes found in Italian restaurants, is this one, which is adapted from a recipe published in Saveur Magazine several years ago.  It is a southern Italian dish, and because of its simplicity, use the highest quality ingredients for the best result.


  • 1/2 lb Spaghetti
  • Salt (for boiling water)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup EVOO, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 6 dried red peperoncino chiles, cut in half lengthwise (see note below)
  • 12 Tbl roughly chopped Italian parsley


  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook spaghetti until al dente.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over low heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chiles and cook until fragrant, a minute or two.
  4. Drain the pasta, reserving approx. 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
  5. Add the pasts to the skillet along with the cooking water and most of the parsley and toss to combine.
  6. Drizzle with more olive oil and more parsley before serving.
  7. ENJOY!


  1. Use the best, fruitiest (or tastiest) EVOO you can.  It will make a difference.
  2. I found the dried red peperoncino chiles on Amazon – see the photo in this post.  Depending on where you live, they may be available at an Italian grocer.  The original recipe only called for two, but the peppers I bought are tiny.  I used 4 on my first try and didn’t get as much “punch” as I would have liked.  Use more if you like it hot!
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: pasta
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian, rustic

Keywords: pasta, easy, rustic italian, rustic, italian, spaghetti



Head Cook

 I’ve always loved cooking, and spent many years working on the food & beverage side of the hospitality industry, which served to increase my interest in food, wine and entertaining.