Aglio Olio
Southern Italian Style

Aglio Olio is garlic oil pasta. This Southern Italian version of the classic has capers and the perfect amount of heat from crushed red peppers. Just the way the Southern Italians like it! Leave it to the masters of Pasta to make a simple and easy pasta dish like this taste five star gourmet.

Capers are abundant in the Southern regions in Italy and in Trapani which is a small town in the central region of Sicily. There lays a number of caper farms. Marco, a good friend of mine from Italy is from Trapani and he gave me this recipe which was handed down from his Ma Ma, and hers before that.

You have to use a quality pasta. Try to find a bronze dye pasta that has a porous surface so the Olive Oil can coat the pasta. There are many different types of pasta so choose a good one. It’s always worth the extra time in finding one and money spent to turn a good recipe into a great one.

The same goes for the olive oil. It should be extra virgin of course and thick, first press and I mean a real first press. If it isn't just a little bit cloudy then it's been filtered. This can cause it to loose a bit of that buttery flavor. This is important with a pasta recipe where the main ingredient of the sauce is the olive oil.

There are so many ways to serve this traditional pasta meal. You can serve it with or without capers, eat it simply as is or add parmigiano cheese. I love mine with bread crumbs so it soaks up even more of the rich Italian olive oil.

But for this recipe we're are going to do it Southern Italian style.

Aglio Olio Ingredients:

  1. ¾ cup of good quality olive oil
  2. ¼ cup capers
  3. ¼ cup of bread crumbs, freshly made with day old Italian bread
  4. 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  5. 4 garlic cloves crushed
  6. A few pinches of crushed red pepper
  7. ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  8. 16oz container of good quality ricotta cheese
  9. pasta water
  10. 1 lb spaghetti rigate

Aglio Olio Preparation:

I like to save day old bread for Italian pasta recipes such as this. It's a great way to use your bread and it tastes a whole lot better the store bought. You can even put old bread in the freezer till you're ready to use it.

Making Bread Crumbs Bread Crumbs in food processor

Put a couple of chunky pieces in the processor and blend until most of the bread has turned to crumbs. There will always be a couple of chunks that just won't blend. You can toss them out. You should have about ¼ cup and that is plenty.

Before you do anything else, now is the time to boil your water and cook your pasta. Remember to cook your pasta al dente. You are going to add the pasta directly from the water (whether you drain it or not) to the saute pan.

Scoop pasta water from boiling pasta pasta water

When the pasta water is starchy or cloudy remove some of the water and set aside to use in the recipe.

Add Garlic to the pan of Oil Add just a touch of pasta water

Coat the bottom of your pan with a very, very, generous amount of oil and heat. Remember, this is your sauce. Add the sliced garlic only for now. The key now is not to burn the Garlic so keep your heat at a medium to medium low depending on your oven. Stirring it consistently. When you see it becoming golden and tender. Crush the remaining garlic, the crushed red pepper and the capers into the oil. Stir a few times and slowly pour in a splash or two of the pasta water. Just enough to add a touch of liquid to the sauce. Stir until tender.

Add pasta to the pan of garlic Oil

Add your strained spaghetti, the bread crumbs and the parsley to the pan and toss several times. This Aglio Olio recipe is ready to be served.

Take a generous scoop of Ricotta and scoop it to the side of the dish. Parmigiano is optional but a glass of nice Red Wine and fresh Italian bread isn't!

Do you have a easy pasta recipe you'd like to share? Submit it here and I’ll post it live on the site just like this aglio olio recipe for a whole page dedicated to your Italian pasta recipe.

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