Apr 5, 2020

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Aged Parmigiano-Reggiano

This pasta dish is probably as simple as it can get, so the only few ingredients used become essential, especially the cheese. The recipe calls for grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to toss with the spaghetti in the end. Please try to source aged Parmigiano-Reggiano whenever possible, the already grated version sold in a bottle can never get such complexity and depth compared to freshly grated aged cheese. It'll make or break the dish, not joking.

Spaghetti aglio e olio with aged Parmigiano-Reggiano -

Ingredients (about 4 portions)?

  • 4 portions spaghetti
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1/2 cup grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Some olive oil
  • Some extra virgin olive oil


Prepare a big pot of water, add generous amount of salt, about a small handful to flavor the water. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta till nearly al dente texture. Before draining, reserve about 1 cup of pasta water. Drain and set aside, or try to time it perfectly so the pasta can add directly to the flavored oil right after draining.

Peel and chop the garlic cloves. Chop the parsley. Grate the cheese.

Use a large sauté pan and drizzle about 3 tablespoons olive oil. Turn to medium heat. Add in chopped garlic along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let it slowly cooked for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat if the garlic starts to brown to quickly, but a little coloring is great.

Add in red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Carefully pour in reserved pasta water, watch out for hot water splashing out. Bring the whole thing to a boil then lower the heat to keep it at a simmer till the liquid has been reduced by half. 

The liquid will thicken slightly. Season with extra salt, about 1/2 teaspoon more. Taste and adjust, but keep in mind that some salty grated cheese will be added too.

Transfer drained pasta over and toss till all the spaghetti has been coated with flavored sauce. Turn off the heat and mix in most of the chopped parsley and all the grated cheese. Give it a nice toss again.

Plate and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, garnish with some chopped parsley.

Use more garlic cloves if you love that garlicky aroma. Since I made four portions here and used 8 cloves, calculate the numbers, it's about 2 cloves per serving. I think it won't hurt if I pump it up by 3 cloves per plate of spaghetti, don't you think so?

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