Spaghetti aio e oio is a classic Roman dish, and according to Marcella Hazan the Romans (who pronounce it almost as one word) think using anything but spaghetti or spaghettini for this recipe is just unnatural. The name means “spaghetti, garlic, and oil” in the Roman dialect (it sometimes appears on menus as spaghetti aglio e olio, which is standard Italian), and that’s basically all there is to the recipe.
Because it takes so little time to make–you can chop the garlic and parsley and grate the cheese while the oil is heating, and the whole thing can be done once you put the spaghetti in the water–and because the parsley (which can be left out) is the only ingredient that might not be a staple, this is probably the quick and easy pasta dish: ten minutes, plus time to bring the pasta water to the boil.
Everything except for the amount of oil is more or less up to your taste. Our version has almost twice the garlic, and quite a bit more crushed red pepper, than the published version we originally used.
One word of warning: watch out for spattering! Vigorously boiling water sometimes has a tendency to jump out of its pot, and you do not want it jumping into your pan of hot oil. Be careful with the parsley, too–if it’s not completely dry, it will spatter as it hits the oil, so stand back when you add it.
(If the cheese is omitted and dried, store-bought spaghetti is used, this dish actually qualifies as vegan.)
Spaghetti Aio e Oio
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 cup Italian parsley chopped
- 1 pound spaghetti cooked and drained
- ½ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- black pepper freshly ground
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook until the garlic turns golden, about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the parsley. Watch out for spattering when it hits the oil!
Toss well with spaghetti. Add freshly grated parmesan cheese, toss well, and season with black pepper.