Gramma's Aglio, Olio E Peperoncino... Sort Of




Introduction: Gramma's Aglio, Olio E Peperoncino... Sort Of

About: I play with light

My grandparents lived in Italy during World War II where resources were scarce. My grandmother would rarely speak of it. Actually, the only time she talked about it was when she made this dish. She made it for us as her mother made it for her back in Italy.

It was the only thing she taught me to cook and every time I make it, I am transported to her kitchen, both of us standing on soda crates toasting the garlic. The smell of parsley triggers memories of quail chicks chirping in the yard.

This is a tasty quick & simple 6 ingredient recipe that has gotten my family trough the toughest of circumstances (WWII) and I think my gramma would be happy that I am making it for them now as we deal with supply chain issues.

So here is my family's favorite aglio e olio recipe with some modifications.

Everything about it is a compromise:

Firstly, the original recipe uses cream, but that's not my thing, so we are skipping it all together. Sorry Gramma, I know you liked it really creamy, but its way too heavy for me.

Then some substitutions


Normally, I make my the pasta. However, eggs are still quite difficult to find, so we are skipping the dough and heading for boxed store-bought pasta that's hanging out in the pantry.

Since I am making it for everyone in the family & My sister likes this dish cold so I settled on a box of prefab bowties in place of the usual angel hair or liguinie fini

Olive Oil :(

Normally we use a tasty extra virgin olive oil, but we are using what was left at the store.. Extra light olive oil it is -or as my mum called it, the trash of the trash :( yeah, she's an olive oil snob but it's what we have at the moment

Garlic. The painful compromise

I can't lie, this one hurt my soul a little. I love love L O V E garlic but I never quite embraced the pre-chopped processed versions. Our grocery stores have been out of garlic for a bit so I had to resort to the pre crushed variety. Sad, but it's available.

Technically the red pepper flakes are a substitution. It really should be Peperoncino Rosso, and not the dried cayenne that is readily available here.



  • Garlic (lots and lots)
  • Pasta
  • Olive Oil (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
  • Parsley (a bunch finely chopped)
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt


  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pepper
  • Lemon Juice


  • Pot
  • Pan
  • Cutting board
  • Very sharp knife
  • Strainer

Step 1: Prep Parsley

Remove the stems from the parsley and finely chop the leaves

Step 2: Prep Pasta

Take as salted pot of water to boiling ( I sneak in a little parsley and garlic too)

Add the pasta and cook according to package directions

Step 3: Add Olive Oil

While the pasta cooks add the olive oil to a pan

Step 4: Add Garlic

add garlic to the oil and saute

Step 5: Add Red Pepper Flakes

Add red pepper flakes, stir and cook until the garlic is golden brown.

Remove from heat.

Step 6: Drain Pasta

  • Drain the pasta when cooked
  • Save a bit of the pasta water

Step 7: Add Pasta to Pan

Add the pasta to the pan with garlic and olive oil

Step 8: Add Parsley

Add the parsley

Step 9: Stir

Stir up the parsley in to pasta

Add a bit of the pasta water to facilitate mixing

(you can also add more olive oil if needed)

Step 10: Serve

Serve hot add a topping or seasoning of your choice.

My favourite is finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano while my nephew enjoys extra red pepper flakes.

My sister enjoys the pasta cold with a bit of lemon juice.

Try it your way.

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    2 years ago

    This is one of my favorite easy foods - can't go wrong with lemon, chili and garlic :D