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Alio e Olio, too simple to call a recipe?

I love Alio e Olio. The ingredients seems pretty basic but I've never prepared it. I'm curious, is there any range as to ingredients or cooking techniques?

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  1. for best results it requires quality ingredients
    Try using:

    Bright green OO
    Lots of Garlic halved - I like the garlic with the purple tint to its skin
    Good dry pasta like Setarro brand
    Parmesean cheese hand grated
    coarse salt
    pepperoncini
    chopped parsley for garnish
    use can also add a few spoons of pasta water to it if it's too dry

    2 Replies
    1. re: jenniebnyc

      Hi Jennie,
      Thanks for the swift reply. I see by your profile that Mom's Bolognese is to die for. Would you care to share with your fellow Chowhounds?

      1. re: jenniebnyc

        I'd love to get my hands on that Bolognese recipe, too. :o)

      2. You're right, it's great!

        A lil' tip I got from my Argentinean/Italian Mother-in-Law is to blast it in the pot before serving with a little fresh garlic pressed thru a garlic press to brighten-up the garlic...

        A lot of us sauté the minced garlic to flavor the oil, then toss...

        That often tones down the garlic magic....
        For myself, I add grated parm in the pot before serving too, along with the garlic blast...

        Another notch?
        Stir in some Half & Half to make it garlikky AND Alfredoey!

        Viva Italia!

        1. It is that simple and that delicious.

          First cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water. After I put the spaghetti in, I put some olive oil in a cold pan and add a lot of sliced garlic and some crushed red pepper flakes. Then I heat over medium heat till the garlic is toasted and crispy. Remove the crispy garlic slices but leave the oil in. Then add the pasta directly to the pan and toss till well coated. If necessary, add some of the pasta water and keep tossing. Add back the sliced garlic top with parsley and some parmesan cheese. THen plate. That easy.

          Sometimes, for some extra texture I toast some breadcrumbs in the oil after removing the garlic but before adding the pasta.

          1. I've made it even simpler than any of the above.

            Garlic minced as fine as I can get it, nearly a puree, put into a pan of very green olive oil and some butter, and poured over al dente dried cappellini, and served with block of good parmesan or romano on the table next to a grater.

            The guys who used to work on my boat all seemed to like it, but only really as a side. It goes well with some chicken breasts just breaded and fried and or some good sausages.

            1. 2 large cloves garlic peeled
              1 pound Spaghetti
              1/2 cup EVOO
              1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
              25 large parsely leaves
              Coarsely chop garlic on a board.
              Bring pot of water to a boil.Salt
              While pasta is cooking

              Place a samll sauce pan over low heat , when the oil is warm add the chopped garic .Saute for 2 minutes . Add red pepper flakes and S/P to taste, saute for 2 minutes.
              When pasta is ready pour the oil with the garlic over it. Toss well add the parsley and serve.

              1. Mine is about as simple as it gets...

                I use fresh chiles instead of dried. They have more heat and more flavor, in my opinion.

                5-6 cloves garlic, minced
                1-2 Thai bird chiles, seeded and minced
                1 lb. spaghetti
                1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
                1/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water

                Cook the pasta and strain. Then heat up the pot again, add most of the olive oil, then add the garlic and chiles once the oil starts turning psychedelic and wavy. I only cook the garlic until it's pale yellow, not brown - I much prefer the raw garlic taste to bitter and burnt (same as grandma did in Italy). To stop the browning process, add the reserved pasta water and stir briskly. Bring to a boil, toss in the pasta, drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve once the water is absorbed, about 1-2 minutes. Cheese it optional, though I usually pass on it.

                1. I use Korean buckwheat/potato starch noodles and dark sesame oil with the garlic. Still aglio/olio? Maybe not....

                  1. Am I the only one that puts ancovy fillets in the sauce, then it MUST be topped with toasted breadcrumbs?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: coll

                      That recpie has another name in Italian.

                      1. re: coll

                        That's actually called "Pasta Ammuddicata" - It's from Calabria/Basilicata/Sicily...

                        Also a delicious recipe, but quite different from "Aglio e Olio"

                        1. re: coll

                          Southern Italians do that. My family does that and would never serve to people since it is "peasant food"; I tell them it is the rage. I even loce it sans the breadcrumbs personally.

                        2. That's good to know. My husband's mother was from Abruzzi, and his father from Sicily, so maybe she made it the way his father liked and called it what she knew? Other people have told me they make it this way too and call it aglio e olio, so now I can tell them this interesting fact! Thanks for the info

                          1. Thanks for all the postings on Alio e Olio. I will definitely be trying a lot of these wonderful variations.

                            1. i just found some fresh ramps (new garlic shoots) at the greenmarket and made this variation of aglio e olio with that. awfully good. here's the recipe.

                              Pasta with Ramps

                              1 lb dried spaghettini
                              1 bunch ramps, cleaned and chopped fine
                              1 dried red pepper
                              1/3 C good olive oil
                              salt and pepper
                              parmesan

                              In a large pot, bring 5-6 quarts of generously salted water (it should taste salty like the sea) to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.

                              Meanwhile, crumble pepper into sauté pan and toast over medium heat.
                              Add oil and when hot, add ramps, cooking until tender, a minute or less.
                              Turn off heat, add salt and pepper to taste.

                              Drain pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water. Reheat ramp/oil mixture, and when it begins to sizzle, add pasta and a little of the water. Mix well, adding more water if the pasta seems dry.

                              Place in bowl, grate parmesan over pasta and a couple of turns of fresh pepper. Serve hot.