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Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Pan-Fried Jalapeños

Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Pan-Fried Jalapeños

Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Pan-Fried Jalapeños

This is my New World take on spaghetti aglio e olio, the legendary pasta dish!

A few years ago, my husband and I savored a plate of spaghetti aglio e olio while dining in the equally legendary Venetian restaurant Locanda Montin. Within 5 minutes we'd devoured every strand of spaghetti, so we ordered a second bowl. When our server came around to see if we wanted to order dessert, we ordered a third bowl!

Needless to say, we've never forgotten the experience or the taste.

This New World version of spaghetti aglio e olio is as simple as the original, but it's spiced up with jalapeños instead of red pepper flakes. As the jalapeños pan-fry, they become mellow, smoky, sweet, infusing the oil and the pasta with all their spunkiness.

A word of warning, make sure to test your jalapeños before you make this recipe (taste the tip of one pepper and it'll give you an idea of its strength). I find most commercial jalapeños fairly mild, but now and then you come across some that are quite fiery!

So here's to spaghetti aglio e olio’s new incarnation — a bowl of pasta that might be Zen-like, but that is undoubtedly memorable.


  • 1/3 Cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 6 -8 jalapeños, seeded and julienned
  • 12 large cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Pound spaghetti


Calories Per Serving609

Folate equivalent (total)27µg7%

Parmesan Garlic Spaghetti

I know. It’s a brand spanking new year, and I should probably be posting some variation of a quinoa-kale-type salad.

I say, let’s eat more Parmesan, garlic and pasta. Drenched in browned butter, of course.

I mean this only has 5 ingredients. And then takes about 20 minutes to whip up.

It’s almost a crime to NOT be eating this every single day of 2016, right?

To prevent cooked spaghetti pasta from sticking together, keep these simple, but important tips in mind:

    1. Wait until the water is at a full, rapid boil before adding the spaghetti.
    2. Never ever add oil to the pasta cooking water! While it’s true that oil will prevent pasta from sticking together, there’s a downside. The oil will also prevent any sauce from sticking to your spaghetti.
    3. Stir the pasta as it cooks, aim for stirring every 2-3 minutes.
    4. After the pasta is cooked, drain the water and rinse the with water. But ONLY rinse pasta if you won’t be eating it right away.


      1. Cook spaghettini in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente drain, reserving 3 Tbsp. pasta cooking liquid.
      2. Meanwhile, cook anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 cup oil, and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until anchovies dissolve and garlic is tender, 6𔃅 minutes (do not brown). Stir in parsley, then remove from heat.
      3. While anchovy sauce is cooking, heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in a small skillet over medium. Add panko and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to paper towels to cool.
      4. Return pasta to pot. Stir in reserved pasta cooking liquid, then anchovy sauce and half of the panko mixture. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until heated through, 1𔃀 minutes season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan and remaining panko mixture.

      Topping Off Garlic and Olive Oil Pasta

      If you really want to take your olive oil pasta to the next level, you can add a few additional ingredients. Toss in about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes when the garlic is nearly done sautéing. And then stir in a handful of fresh minced flat leaf parsley and a cup or so of freshly grated Parmesan cheese after tossing the spaghetti noodles with the olive oil pasta sauce.

      Oh, and last, but certainly not least? The secret to a truly indulgent aglio e olio (aka pasta with olive oil and garlic in Italian) is a drizzling of extra fresh olive oil at the end to highlight the high-quality olive oil that is a must for this recipe. Now enjoy!


      Recipe Summary

      • 1 pound angel hair pasta
      • 2 cups olive oil for frying
      • 2 bulbs garlic, peeled and diced
      • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

      Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente drain.

      Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until a piece of garlic dropped into the oil slowly bubbles. Add the garlic, and cook and stir until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove garlic from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside reserve oil.

      To serve, place the pasta onto individual serving dishes and sprinkle with fried garlic. Drizzle with a little of the frying oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Reserve remaining garlic-flavored oil for another use.

      The Delicious Flavored Oil You Can Make in Five Minutes

      It all sounded so innocent at first. While working at New York City's Hearth, Food Editor Rhoda Boone learned a quick and simple trick to adding maximum garlic flavor to any dish. How simple? We're talking two ingredients. How quick? Just five minutes. Cooking garlic in olive oil over low heat for just a short amount of time creates a flavor-bomb ingredient that delivers savory flavor to pretty much anything.

      Soon, though, Rhoda found herself doing it at home, too.

      Meet the Spicier, Smokier Red-Pepper Flakes

      "The key is to start the oil cold, which lets the garlic infuse the oil as it gently heats up," says Rhoda. "That way, the finely chopped garlic becomes crispy and golden instead of burning."

      It's a bit hard to believe that in just five minutes the oil can take on incredible flavor, but it does. You can supercharge the oil even more by adding your favorite whole spices and herbs to the oil along with the garlic. Fair warning: You're going to want to make a lot of this. Here's how Rhoda does it:

      Pour 1/2 cup olive oil into a small sauté pan and use a garlic press to crush 4 medium garlic cloves directly into the oil. Add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. of your favorite herb or spice (such as crushed red pepper flake, cumin, or dried oregano). Gently warm oil over medium low heat, stirring often, until garlic is crispy and golden brown and aromatics release their fragrance, 3-5 minutes. Resist the urge to walk away from the stove as the oil cooks—you want the garlic to become crispy and light brown, not dark and bitter. Once the garlic is ready, immediately scrape the oil into a bowl to cool. The flavored oil can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.

      How to use this crispy garlic-studded oil? Licking it straight from the pan is pretty tempting, but here are some options for when that behavior isn't necessarily an option, i.e. company is present.

      Boil a large pot of salted water, and cook spaghetti for about 8 minutes. (Check about a minute before the manufacturers' recommended cooking time, as you want the pasta to be al dente.) Drain, reserving a quarter of a cup of the cooking water.

      In a frying pan, warm olive oil to medium-hot, but not smoking. Add breadcrumbs, chilli flakes and a sprinkle of sea salt and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden. Add garlic and cook for another minute, toss in parsley and remove from the heat, then stir through lemon zest. Season with pepper and a little more sea salt to taste, then remove from pan and place in a bowl.

      Return frying pan to the stove and add the cooked spaghetti, a little more oil and the reserved cooking water. Toss well and cook for a further 30 seconds. Stir through lemon juice, mix well.

      Serve sprinkled with breadcrumb mixture and a liberal amount of parmesan.

      Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

      This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

      Aglio, olio, peperoncino is a pasta found often throughout Tuscany, and even more often on my table for lunch. It originally hails from Napoli but has become beloved throughout Italy.

      It’s simple, so simple, with the classic version requiring just 4 ingredients: spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, and a hot pepper. It’s great to whip up in a pinch because it’s quick and the ingredients are those you probably have in your pantry. It can be on the table in about as long as it takes to boil and cook pasta, plus 2 minutes for mixing. Because of its simplicity, as many Italian dishes are, attention to the quality and freshness of your ingredients will really make this dish shine. (Especially with that olive oil, nice and shiny. :)

      There are many slight variations, but they hardly vary more than an ingredient or two. Some use fresh hot peppers, some use chili flakes some versions call for bread crumbs, others a bit of fresh parsley added at the end, some say to mince the garlic, others slice. Based on these variances, you can always decide to play a bit to find exactly how you like to eat your aglio, olio, e peperoncino pasta.

      The version that follows I learned from my husband, the fresh pasta expert. We usually use fresh hot peppers, but will also use chili flakes if we don’t feel like running to the store. It’s pretty close to the classic recipe, with one exception. We add a bit of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and it catapults the pasta to the next level. OH YES, cheese!

      A note about using fresh peppers: I’m not actually sure what kind of peppers I use here in Italy. At the supermarket there are usually bell peppers “peperoni” and hot peppers “peperoncini” with no indication what variety they might be. Bell peppers come in red and green, but not always at the same time, and the hot peppers are usually red OR green, depending on the season. I suppose they’re jalapeños or a similar variety because they’re spicy but not overly so. Apparently Italians are not pepper connoisseurs, you certainly won’t find jalapeño, habanero, serrano, and other pepper types readily available year round! If I were writing this recipe in Italian I would just put “peperoncino,” and everyone would know to get the only kind of peperoncino available from the store. In English recipes we are used to being told more specifics, and writing “1 hot pepper” would not be as helpful. So I wrote jalapeño on the recipe, but just be aware that you can play around with the kind you use if you want, especially if you try a jalapeño and decide you want spicier, like serrano!


      Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

      Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.

      Start cooking the spaghetti in the boiling water.

      While it cooks, add the garlic to the pan with the warm oil. The oil should be just warm enough that the garlic sizzles gently. Add the crushed red pepper flakes. When the outside edges of the garlic are just starting to brown, add 1 cup of the pasta water and a pinch of salt.

      Keep cooking, shaking the pan to create an emulsion, until the oil and water mixture no longer has that harsh raw garlic flavor.

      When the pasta is al dente, after 8-10 minutes, drain it and add it to the pan, along with the chopped parsley, if using, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.