This Is the Easiest, Cheapest Pasta Dish You Can Make at Home

You don't have to be an Italian chef—or spend a wad of cash—to whip up this classic meal.
Spaghetti aglio olio

Following a recipe can be a nerve-racking task, especially when it's hyper-involved. For example, one step can include three different instructions, kind of like this: Add one teaspoon of paprika and two teaspoons of thyme into the pan with minced garlic and onion, swirl, and reduce heat to prevent burning. And hey, sometimes you're just trying to make something quick, like an easy pasta dish, so there's no need for it to be that complicated, right?

OK, you get the idea. Cooking can be stressful, especially for the person who isn't used to experimenting with new recipes and is just looking for something easy to cook. At the same time, if you've exhausted all of your go-to dishes, you may be due for a new recipe.

Fortunately for even the timidest of cooks, there is an extremely easy pasta recipe you can follow that is loaded in flavor, and requires minimal effort to make: spaghetti aglio e olio. Not to mention, it only takes about 10 minutes to make and costs you a few dollars, if that. You probably already have all of these things stocked up in your pantry, too. What more could you want?

So what exactly is spaghetti aglio e olio?

It may sound fancy, but let's break it down. Spaghetti aglio e olio simply means spaghetti with garlic and oil. Not so daunting now, is it? Not to mention, it's easy and delicious.

How do I make spaghetti aglio e olio?

It's extremely simple. All you need to do is clear off two burners and grab a strainer. Basically, all you need to make this work are the following ingredients: spaghetti, garlic, salt, and oil. Red pepper flakes add a little extra flavor to it, but if you don't have it on hand, don't sweat it. Your dish will be delicious without it.

First, boil your pasta in water with salt added to it until the noodles are al dente, which just means firm to bite (it'll have the exact time on the pasta box). While that's happening, grab a skillet and toss in olive oil and slices of garlic cloves. If you want even more flavor, you can sprinkle in some red pepper flakes for an extra spicy kick of flavor.

Once the garlic is golden brown and you've strained the noodles, add the noodles to the skillet with garlic and olive oil as well as about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. You can catch that amount of water by pouring some of it into a measuring cup before straining the noodles. Stir in a touch more olive oil in, and watch as the pasta water, oil, and garlic all work in tandem to create a creamy sauce in just a handful of easy, cheap ingredients.

And just like that, you have a quick and easy pasta dish to make any time that won't break the bank and still impress any dinner guests (or just yourself!).

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more