A classic staple of Italy’s cucina povera (poor kitchen), this pasta aglio e olio recipe gets a noteworthy upgrade with crispy garlic chips and sourdough breadcrumbs.
For the Crispy Garlic Chips
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
For the Breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp. garlic oil (reserved from from garlic chips)
- 1/3 cup (35g) seasoned breadcrumbs (homemade sourdough breadcrumbs or store-bought)
For Pasta Aglio e Olio
- 240 g (8 oz) fresh homemade pasta or 225 g (1/2 lb.) dried spaghetti
- 1/3 cup good-quality olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, preferably fresh, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup (12 g) chopped parsley
- 1/2– 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Notes & Tips:
- I use a mandolin to thinly slice the garlic.
- Use the freshest garlic available for this dish. It makes a huge difference in flavor.
- Have every single ingredient prepped and ready before cooking the pasta- this dish comes together fast.
- The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce, so it’s important to start with aldente pasta instead of fully cooked. Otherwise the texture will become mushy. You can’t fix mushy pasta.
- The prep & cook times indicated above reflect using dried spaghetti. If using store-bought fresh pasta, reduce the cook time (follow the packet instructions). If using homemade fresh pasta, refer to my timeline in the blog post.
Make the Garlic Chips: In a small skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic slices. Cook until light golden in color, about 1 minute. Do not brown (they will taste bitter!). Strain over a small bowl and reserve the garlic-infused oil. Transfer the garlic chips to a paper towel lined plate. Use the skillet to toast the breadcrumbs.
Toast the Breadcrumbs: Measure out 1 tbsp. of the reserved garlic oil; pour into the same skillet used for the garlic chips. Warm over medium heat. Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring occasionally, until golden. Transfer to a bowl.
Make Pasta Aglio e Olio: Bring a pot of water to a boil; season generously with salt.
In a large 12-inch skillet, add the olive oil and sliced garlic. Adjust the heat to medium. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds). There should be no color on the garlic. Do not brown. Add the red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Take the pan off the heat.
When the pasta is aldente: Transfer with tongs into the skillet, allowing some of the pasta water to cling to the strands. Place the skillet back onto the heat. Adjust to medium. Season with salt, add the parsley, and toss with tongs to combine. Continue to cook until the sauce emulsifies, adding more pasta water as needed if it becomes dry. Alternatively, add more oil if the sauce needs it.
Transfer the pasta into a large serving bowl. Drizzle with some of the reserved garlic oil. Top with garlic chips and toasted breadcrumbs to finish.
Keywords: Italian, pasta, recipe, Naples, aglio e olio, garlic, olive oil, parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic chips, sourdough breadcrumbs, cucina povera