Photo by Flickr user der_dennis

Got a request from a YouTube fan for this recipe. It’s super easy and delicious. This sauce pairs best with a good 100% semolina bronze die dried pasta from the Italian regions of Campania or Puglia.

This is a versatile base for steamed clams, mussels or even crab. (I tell you more at the end of the recipe.)

I get cravings for this zesty, satisfying simple pasta. You can make the sauce in less time than it takes to cook the pasta. Easy to do and “sciue sciue” (very fast).

Here’s a recipe for 500g or 1 pound of pasta.

(If you’re a lover of Italian regional food, be sure to see the details of my upcoming Venetian dinner in San Francisco.)

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (garlic and EVOO sauce)


  • 5 cloves thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1/4 teaspoon peperoncini (red pepper flakes)
  • 2 anchovy filets packed in olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flat Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano, grated
  • 11/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • 1 pound or 500 grams 100% semolina spaghetti or linguine

Cooking Directions

  1. Put on a large pot of water for the pasta. Be sure the water is well salted, maybe 2 tablespoons of sea salt.
  2. When it comes to a rapid boil add the pasta. Cook until very al dente, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put the EVOO, garlic, anchovy and peperoncini in a large saute pan. The anchovy should disintegrate and add a depth of flavor to the sauce.
  4. Over medium-high heat the oil and toast the garlic and peperoncini in the oil until the garlic takes on a very pale golden color.
  5. Add 1 cup of the pasta water and let simmer and reduce. The pasta water keeps the sauce from being too greasy.
  6. When the pasta is very al dente add it to the saute pan. (Be sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.) The pasta will continue to cook in the saute pan and absorb some of the sauce.
  7. Sprinkle on the parsley. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  8. Coat the pasta well with the sauce.
  9. Shut the heat and sprinkle on the pecorino. Mix well.
  10. The pasta and pecorino should have absorbed most of the sauce but there should be a little sauce in the bottom of the pan. If the pasta is too dry add more pasta water and mix well again.
  11. I like to finish each dish with a drizzle of a very good, flavorful EVOO.
  12. Have some grated pecorino on the table in case your guests want more.
  13. Steaming Shellfish
  14. Follow the aglio e olio recipe but do not add any pasta water and cook in a pot not a saute pan.
  15. When the oil is sizzling in the pot add the mussels/clams. Drizzle in about 1/4 cup dry white wine. Cover the pot.
  16. When the shells open take out the mussels/clams. Cover to keep warm and set aside and reduce the broth a bit to form the sauce.
  17. Finish the recipe as above, using the reduced broth to finish cooking the pasta. Plate up the pasta add some mussels/clams to each plate and drizzle with a finishing EVOO.

Photo by der_dennis

Categories: Blog, Pasta, Pasta display, Recipes