A long time ago I had a friend that loved to cook Italian foods. Spaghetti Aglio Olio, a.k.a garlic pasta, and a red meatless “gravy” were the only two thing I ever cooked with that friend.
If you have read any of my other posts, you know that I can never leave well enough alone in a recipe and have taken liberties over the years to adjust this recipe to my own preferences. I think this is the way most folks cook Aglio Olio, as no two recipes ever seem the same.
The way I learned to cook Aglio Olio was to start with olive oil, garlic, and anchovies. I know that the anchovies are supposed to melt into the sauce and provide a rich flavor. I find it leaves too fishy of a taste for me and have chosen to not use them. If you like that flavor, all you have to do is add 4 to 6 anchovy filets to the cold skillet with the garlic and oil when you first start the dish.
I prefer to serve this as a meatless main dish with salad and a simple baguette. This is also perfect as a side dish with juicy grilled steaks or roasted chicken pieces.
I sprinkle some cheese and parsley on top for some added richness. I am currently using a shaved Parmesan, Romano, Asiago mix from my local market cheese section, but shredded or grated Parmesan also work just fine, that’s all I had used until recently.
Cherry tomato halves will bring some color to the dish, and add just a touch of tomato for those who just don’t get that spaghetti can be eaten without tomatoes. I have to admit, when I have a tub of Constellation tomatoes hanging around, I love them on everything, including garlic spaghetti!
Add oil and garlic to cold skillet. Turn heat to medium.
Cook for 5 minutes, or until garlic becomes fragrant, stirring occasionally.
Once garlic becomes fragrant, add red pepper flakes and mushrooms to pan and continue cooking until mushrooms have shrunk to about half of their original size.
Begin cooking spaghetti, your water should be boiling by now.
Add chicken or vegetable broth to garlic and mushrooms in the skillet and continue to simmer while the spaghetti cooks.
Add black pepper to garlic mushroom sauce. Reduce heat to low.
Save 1 to 2 cups of starchy pasta water in a bowl before straining spaghetti and set aside.
Drain spaghetti when cooked, but do not rinse.
Immediately add pasta to skillet with garlic and mushrooms.
Turn and mix to coat all noodles with mixture, adding pasta water as needed to achieve your desired consistency of sauce.
Mushrooms and garlic may not get mixed into pasta, spoon extra mushrooms and garlic over pasta after plated.
Top with cheese, parsley, and cherry tomatoes as desired.
Other Italian Dishes to Try: