Spicy Spaghetti With Garlic and Olive Oil

Spaghetti with Garlic, Chile Pepper, Olive Oil, Parsley and Breadcrumbs
Lauri Patterson/Getty Images
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
301 Calories
13g Fat
38g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 301
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 77mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Protein 10g
Calcium 73mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Naples classic of spaghetti all'aglio, olio, e peperoncino—spaghetti tossed with extra-virgin olive oil in which a bit of garlic and red chili pepper (either dried or fresh) have been sautéed—is one of the simplest, quickest, and yet most satisfying pasta dishes of all. It takes no more than about 15 minutes to make, including boiling the pasta water, so it's great when you're pressed for time, or for a late-night snack to close out an evening.

The most basic version contains only pasta, olive oil, chili pepper, garlic, and salt—things that most people will always have on hand in their pantry—but optional ingredients include fresh flat-leaf parsley and breadcrumbs.

American versions of this dish tend to use far more garlic than is used in Italy—often twice as much—and in fact, some Italians will even cut the garlic into large slices, sauté them in the oil to flavor it, and then remove and discard the garlic slices before mixing the oil with the pasta. Feel free to adjust the amounts of garlic and pepper to suit your personal taste.


  • 1 lb. / 450g spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Optional: 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and finely minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili pepper flakes, or 1 to 2 dried peperoncini chili peppers (crushed)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Set a large covered pot of water over high heat to boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, salt the water and add the spaghetti, giving a few stirs to keep the pasta from clumping together.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and breadcrumbs over medium heat and toast the crumbs in the oil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 3 minutes. (If you are not using breadcrumbs, then skip this step and instead heat the oil together with the minced garlic.)

  4. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking until garlic is just fragrant and lightly colored, about 1 minute. Be careful not to overcook the garlic, or it will become bitter. 

  5. Add the red pepper (dried or fresh) and chopped parsley. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

  6. When your pasta is al dente, drain it, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water.

  7. Toss the spaghetti with the oil, garlic, and breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Add a little bit of the pasta cooking water as needed if the mixture is too dry.

  8. Serve and enjoy!