It doesn’t get any simpler than olive oil pasta. It’s the simplest of pasta sauces, and one of the most delicious.
Olive oil pasta is my kids’ favorite pasta dish – a simple, yet delicious mix of textures and flavors.
Wholesome and pleasantly garlicky, it is by far better than the bland, limp, overcooked buttered pasta typically served to kids in restaurants. And despite being more complex in flavor, kids of all ages love it.
How to make it more interesting
Needless to say, this dish is excellent for adults too, if they don’t mind the carbs.
Although when serving to adults I would sprinkle chopped Italian parsley and grated Parmesan on top – 1/4 cup of each – for some added complexity and flavor.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty side dish. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
- Gluten-free spaghetti or spaghettini
- Kosher salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil (a healthy ingredient)
- Minced garlic
- Freshly ground black pepper
How to make olive oil pasta
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
- Boil the spaghetti in salted water, 1 minute less than the directions on the package. Drain.
- While the spaghetti is boiling, cook the garlic in olive oil just until golden.
- Mix the garlicky olive oil into the noodles, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
- You can top the dish with some chopped parsley and grated parmesan if you wish.
Is pasta healthy or unhealthy?
The answer would depend on your specific dietary goals. If you want (or need) to limit your carbs, then pasta is not a good choice for you. Try alternatives such as:
What to serve with olive oil pasta?
Unlike the Italians, who serve pasta as a separate dish, I serve this recipe as a side dish. I often serve it with baked meatballs, topping the pasta with the saucy meatballs.
What about leftovers?
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days. In fact, I usually cook the entire spaghetti package, because olive oil pasta keeps so well, and my kids love it in their lunch boxes.
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Olive Oil Pasta
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Fill a large stockpot with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the water starts boiling, add a tablespoon of kosher salt.
- As soon as the water returns to a boil, add the pasta. Cook, gently stirring, 2 minutes less than the package instructions, then check the pasta for doneness. It’s usually perfectly done 1-2 minutes before the time listed on the package.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the garlic until just golden, then promptly remove from heat.
- Drain the pasta into a colander. Don’t drain too well – it’s OK and in fact preferable if a little of the cooking water adheres to the pasta.
- Return the pasta to the hot, empty stockpot. Pour the garlicky olive oil on top, scraping every last drop with a spatula, add salt and pepper and mix well.
- If you wish, top with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.
- Serve immediately, or divide into servings and keep in airtight containers for a few days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave.