This Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Pepperoncino is a spicy version of the classic aglio e olio pasta and can be served on its own or with a choice of protein. It's simple, easy to make with just pantry staples, and takes only 15 minutes to make.
Why This Recipe Works
- Spicy and garlicky - Just like the classic spaghetti Aglio e Olio, this recipe uses olive oil, garlic, and parmesan. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio translates to "spaghetti with garlic and oil". It's a popular dish from Naples, Italy. The word Peperoncino in the name of this recipe translates to "chili pepper". It's a spicy version of the classic dish most people are used to.
- Easy and inexpensive - This recipe calls for a handful of pantry staples, parmesan, garlic, and fresh parsley. If you don't have fresh parsley, you could also use dried parsley. This makes it the perfect SOS dinner when you have an empty fridge but still want something delicious.
- 15-minute dinner - This dish takes almost no time to make. You can cook the garlic, chili, and parsley while the spaghetti is boiling which only takes 10-15 minutes.
- Spaghetti - You can either go with classic durum wheat spaghetti or use a gluten-free pasta of your choice. Any kind works here. The cooking time will vary based on the type of pasta you use.
- Extra virgin olive oil - The better the oil, the better the dish. It makes up for a large part of the flavor of the dish so choose one you really like.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is the best and will yield the best flavor. You can use dried garlic too if needed but I always recommend fresh. Add as much as you like (I usually add even more than the recipe calls for).
- Chili peppers - You can use fresh or dried chili peppers. Using crushed red pepper flakes makes is great when you want to keep this a pantry staple dinner. If you're using fresh, add more, if dried, add less. Just like you would with herbs.
- Parsley - Fresh parsley is best here. It brightens the dish and gives it great flavor and color. Dried parsley can be used when in a pinch.
- Parmesan or Pecorino - You can use either parmesan or pecorino cheese here. I usually go with pecorino because it has a stronger flavor and it's saltier. Parmesan is made from cow's milk. Pecorino is made with sheep's milk.
First, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Let the pasta cook according to package instructions. While it's cooking, sautee the garlic, chili, and parsley with olive oil.
Add olive oil, sliced garlic, and chili peppers (or dried chili) to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook on medium for 2 minutes. Once the garlic starts to caramelize, add more olive oil, parsley, and sea salt. Cook for another 30 seconds just to allow the parsley to infuse the oil and take off the heat.
Once the spaghetti is al dente and done cooking, reserve a cup of the pasta water and strain and rinse the pasta. Add the rinsed pasta to the pan with olive oil and garlic and toss gently to coat. Add a splash or two of pasta water to create a sauce. Stir in grated parmesan or pecorino and add more pasta water as needed.
Serve the pasta with extra cheese, more fresh parsley, and chili flakes on top.
Serving and Storing
This dish is best served right away while it's still hot. Once it cools down, it's still good to eat and tasty but the cheese hardens and makes the spaghetti more clumpy.
Serve the pasta with extra herbs, parmesan or pecorino, and chili flakes or fresh chili pepper slices.
You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days and reheat them on the stove with a splash of water. If you're using regular wheat pasta, it should stay intact well while reheating. Gluten-free pasta tends to fall apart more easily when you reheat it but it will still be delicious!
Yes, you can use any pasta you prefer.
I recommend roasted salmon, shrimp, or chicken. Seared scallops would also be a great option here!
You can add more or less fresh chili or chili flakes based on your heat preference. The classic Aglio e olio doesn't have any chili and the garlic, olive oil, and parmesan still give it a ton of flavor.
More Pasta Recipes
Pasta in any shape and form is one of my favorite things to cook so I'm always sharing new recipes. To see the latest ones, head over to the pasta recipes category. The four below are my favorites, especially the sun-dried tomato one!
This Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino is spicy, garlicky, and cheesy. It's easy to make and really simple. The perfect quick dinner!
- pinch sea salt
- 250g dry spaghetti
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 6-8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or ½ red chili pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped (add more or less based on your heat preference)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ finely chopped fresh parsley (I used flat leaf, plus more for garnish if desired)
- ½ cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese (plus more for serving)
- Start by cooking the pasta. It will cook while you prepare the rest.
- Bring a large pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions (regular wheat spaghetti will take 11-13 minutes).
- While that’s cooking, heat a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add about half of the olive oil, sliced garlic, red pepper flakes or chopped chili pepper.
- Lower the heat to medium to make sure the olive oil doesn’t burn and cook for 2 minutes stirring often. Once the garlic starts to caramelize slightly, add the rest of the oil, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and parsley. Cook for another 30 seconds or so and take off the heat.
- Before straining your pasta, make sure to save 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Strain and rinse the pasta and add it into the pan with the garlic.
- Set it over low-medium heat and toss the pasta with the garlic and oil. Add a splash of the pasta water to help coat the pasta.
- Sprinkle in the chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan or pecorino cheese. Toss gently.
- Add more pasta water as needed, I usually add at least ½ cup. It makes it more sauce-y.
- Serve immediately garnished with more parsley, cheese, chili flakes, and a sprinkle of black pepper if desired.
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Pasta doesn’t tend to store well and I find if it’s gluten-free, it always falls apart when reheating. If it’s regular spaghetti, it does fairly well when being reheated in a pan or saucepan with a good splash of water and more parmesan.
Keywords: pasta, aglio e olio e peperoncino