Spaghetti A Olio


I thought it would be fitting to make my first post about my favorite go-to quick and easy dinner. Spaghetti a olio is a pasta dish from Italy that is known for its simplicity. In its purest form, it is just garlic, olive oil, and noodles. However, for my version today, I will include fresh parsley, red chili flakes, grated Parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice, and smoked bacon. If you are looking for a quicker meal or do not eat pork, the bacon is optional, and the pasta will be still delicious, just skip steps 2 and 3 of the recipe.

Ingredient List  

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 2-3 strips of thick cut smoked bacon, diced (Optional)
  • 5-7 peeled garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • Pinch or 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (EV if you like the stronger flavor)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano highly recommended)
  • The juice of about half a lemon (Also optional, but I believe it helps lighten the dish)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Start boiling well salted (A large pinch) water in a large pot.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, start frying the bacon pieces over medium-high heat in a fairly large dry pan. Stirring occasionally until desired crispiness.
  3. Turn off heat and remove bacon bits from pan and safely discard oil or reserve as much as you like to have a stronger bacon flavor. (I like to use a paper towel to soak up the oil until there is about a table spoon left in the pan)
  4. Add pasta to boiling water and olive oil with sliced garlic to the pan (pasta and sauce should finish around the same time)
  5. Make sure the sliced Garlic is in a single layer and turn the heat on to medium-low.
  6. Once the edges of the garlic slices have started turning a light brown, turn off heat and add chili flakes.
  7. Add al dente pasta to the pan with about a 1/4 cup pasta water and stir
  8. Add chopped parsley, Parmesan cheese, and bacon bits, and squeeze lemon juice over pasta.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy (careful with salt, I typically will not add any here due to the salt content of the Parmesan and bacon)

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