February 19, 2014

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil)

Does anyone else feel like they blinked and now it's almost March? Between the crazy weather changes we have been experiencing and the non-stop activity I'm not entirely sure where February went. The weather changes (77 one day, snow the next) are really throwing me off when I'm meal planning. I try to plan the hearty winter soups and casseroles for those cold days, and take advantage of the warm ones to use the grill or make something light.

On the other hand, I've been digging through my old meal planning notes and rediscovering some gems. This pasta dish from the Barefoot Contessa is one of them. It's done in the time it takes the pasta to boil which makes it a perfect weeknight meal. The kids and grownups alike devour it. It could even work as a dinner party dish…as long as no one minds a little garlic on your breath :)

I swapped the parsley out for spinach to add an extra veggie, but if you aren't a spinach lover add the parsley back in, or switch it out for your favorite fresh herb. I've used cilantro as well with good luck. Different olive oils will impart different flavors in the dish as well, and it can be fun to experiment to see how the taste changes. We were much more adventurous in olive oils when we lived in California, now I'm resigned to the best of whatever I can find in the commissary.

What's your favorite rediscovered recipe?

 Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?

1 pound spaghetti
1/3 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra to garnish
1 tsp salt

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta and cook as usual. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the water used to cook the pasta before draining.

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat and then add garlic. Cook for about 1 minute when the garlic begins to be fragrant. Add in the red pepper flakes and cook for another 30-45 seconds. Pour the reserved water from the pasta into the saucepan and stir together. Bring to a boil, add in the salt and cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes.

When the sauce is reduced by about 1/3, add the drained pasta and toss until it is all coated in the sauce. Take the pan off the heat and add the spinach and parmesan. After thoroughly mixing, let rest for a minute or two so the sauce can absorb and then serve warm with extra parmesan as a garnish.


  1. I love an easy meal for weeknights and that this incorporates veggies. I love the bright lighting in your food photos!

  2. Years ago I read a book called A Thousand Days in Venice and the author talked about eating pasta dressed with nothing but olive oil and garlic. It sounded so good. But the spinach would round this out and make a nice vegetarian meal. Perfect for a weekend night when we want a quick, easy dinner to eat on the couch while watching Scandal or Elementary!

  3. Hulk pasta is genius! Some days my boys happily eat green food and others…well, superhero persuasion will come in very handy!

  4. Thanks so much! This is one that will transition nicely into spring and summer too when all that fantastic fresh produce comes back into season.

  5. That sounds like a perfect night! And I really need to start watching Scandal…I think I may be the last person around who isn't watching it :)


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