Aglio Olio e Peperoncino - Featured Dish

The Best Aglio Olio E Peperoncino Recipe Is Easy To Make

This simple Aglio Olio e Peperoncino recipe is packed with flavor and very easy to make with only a few ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino - Peppers

Spaghetti with Aglio Olio e Peperoncino (garlic, olive oil and chili pepper) is an easy classic of Italian cuisine. It is one of those dishes that you learn to make as a college student and that you never stop enjoying. Easy, fast, cheap and best of all delicious, it is perfect for a quick meal or when hunger strikes suddenly.

One of the benefits of this recipe is that even if you usually need to go to the grocery store before cooking something, spaghetti garlic, oil and chili pepper is usually around. 

Santoku Knife

The Santoku style knife is my favorite when I’m cooking and Victorinox makes a great one!

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
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Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan
Aglio Olio e Peperoncino - Spaghetti

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino Ingredients And Recommendation

  • Peperoncino – This recipe is best with fresh, or slightly dried spicy peppers (peperoncini), but you can also use dried red pepper flakes, which is usually in the back of your spice rack. There is a big variability in the spiciness of these peppers, so you want to make sure that you use the number of peppers you are comfortable with.
  • Ricotta Cheese – I found this variation that I absolutely love, which is to add some ricotta cheese to the final dish. I really enjoy Ricotta, so when I saw this, I immediately knew I needed to try it. The added creaminess without the melty cheese is great and it reminded me of my late uncle who used to call ricotta added to pasta and red sauce:  “a poor man’s lasagna”.
  • Cooking Garlic – A key to this recipe is to not burn the garlic. If you are distracted or unsure how best to cook it and it browns, you should probably just throw it out and try again. You want to heat the oil just to the point where it starts to pop or bubble, then turn the flame off. The garlic and peppers will release their flavors without burning from cooking too long.
  • Pasta – The popular pasta for this recipe is spaghetti, and I recommend it. To repeat the theme, it is likely that spaghetti is something you have laying around, so go ahead and use it up. If you are looking for other options, I would recommend a long pasta, like bucatini, tonnarelli or even angel hair pasta.

Frequently Asked Questions About Aglio Olio e Peperoncino

What Does Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino Meaning In English?

Spaghetti is pretty obvious, but if you didn’t know, it is a long, extruded, dried pasta that is perfect for this dish. Aglio is the Italian word for garlic, Olio is oil and specifically Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Peperoncino are spicy small red peppers that are best fresh, but you can also substitute red pepper flakes if you can’t find the fresh ones.

How Can I Make My Aglio Olio Taste Better?

Make sure your peppers and garlic are fresh and your olive oil is high quality. As with all Italian cooking, the quality of your ingredients will greatly influence the quality of your dish. Also, be sure not to burn the garlic. Browning it is not recommended and will add an acrid flavor that can ruin the taste.

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino - Garlic and Peppers

Why Does My Aglio Olio Have No Taste?

Since there are so few ingredients, there are only really three reasons for a lack of flavor with this recipe:

  • Your garlic is old and has lost some of its flavor. Be sure to use relatively fresh garlic or add a bit more than this recipe recommends.
  • Your peppers are weak or simply the wrong kind. You want to use spicy peppers with a little kick and like the garlic, as it gets old and dry it becomes a bit weaker. Again, if that is all you have, then add a few more peppers to make sure you can taste them.
  • Your olive oil is a lower quality, like the oil you use for frying. You should use your higher quality olive oil for this dish because you will be able to taste it in the final product,

Do You Use Olive Oil Or Extra Virgin For Aglio Olio?

In this recipe, you will want to use your best Extra Virgin Olive Oil because even though you are cooking with it, you aren’t using it to fry and in fact you are only heating the oil until the garlic and peppers begin to pop. The flavors of a good olive oil will definitely come through.

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino - Don't Burn

How Did Jamie Oliver Ruin This Recipe?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am not a fan of how Jamie Oliver ruins Italian cuisine. I know he ruins other cuisines, but my focus is on Italian food, so this is what really annoys me. In this case, there are three ways his recipe sucks:

  • He Adds Lemon – This recipe traditionally doesn’t have any acid, so adding lemons will completely change the profile of the dish. If you want some lemons, try our Lemon Tuna Pasta recipe.
  • He Burns The Garlic – He talks about browning the garlic, and this is something to avoid. Any browning will add a bitter flavor instead of just the garlic flavor. This recipe heats the garlic only enough to have the garlic and peppers release their flavors. Browning it can ruin it.
  • He Ignores The Spirit – You can probably tell that the spirit of this recipe is that you probably have the ingredients in your pantry, so there is no need to go out. His recipe calls for spring greens, which are seasonal and you aren’t likely to have them laying around, just like the lemon that he adds.

If you would like a free copy of this recipe in PDF format, please sign up for access to our Recipe Box which contains a growing list of amazing Italian recipes discussed on this blog, including this delicious recipe.

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino - Finished

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Servings: 4


  • 14 ounces (400 grams) Spaghetti
  • 5 cloves of Garlic
  • 4 Spicy Peperoncini Peppers (or 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes)
  • 5 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sale to taste

Pasta Pot with Strainer

Perfect for cooking pasta, this pot can be used to cook a range of meals you will love!

Cooking Instructions

  1. Peel the cloves of garlic and thinly slice them.
  2. Slice the peppers, the quantity of chili peppers depends very much on their intensity.
  3. Put the garlic and peppers in a large pan and add the olive oil, then turn on the heat. You have to be very careful not to let the garlic burn! As soon as the oil starts to sizzle, wait about 30 seconds and turn off the heat. The garlic and peppers will release their aromas in the hot oil without needing to continue cooking.
  4. Put the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water and cook it al dente. Add a cup of pasta cooking water to the pan with the oil, garlic and peppers, turn on the heat and mix until you obtain a sort of emulsion. 
  5. When cooked, move the pasta to the sauce pan and finish cooking by stirring it in with the sauce.
  6. Serve the spaghetti with hot garlic, oil and peppers and enjoy your meal!
Aglio Olio e Peperoncino - Optional Cheese topping

Serving Suggestions

If you prepare the pasta as described, you can add some grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to the top, but it isn’t necessary if you don’t have any or don’t want to. You can also try adding 6 ounces (150 grams) of Ricotta cheese (specifically goat’s milk ricotta) to the pan and mix it through. I loved this variation and you might too.

Previous Italian Recipes That Might Interest You

If you enjoyed this easy and delicious pasta recipe, here are some of other fantastic recipes that you might want to try:

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino - With Ricotta

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