Spaghetti Aglio Olio: Poor Man’s Pasta

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Chili garlic parmesan pasta is the ultimate comfort food.

Spaghetti aglio olio is a classic Italian pasta with only five ingredients and can be made in less than 10 minutes.

This dish is called Poor Man’s Pasta but you may know this as the spaghetti aglio olio, or pasta with garlic (aglio) and oil (olio).

I eat dry pasta a few times a week, sometimes it’s extravagant like spaghetti puttanesca or other times I’ll bring butternut squash lasagna which makes for great leftovers.

While I don’t have a traditional lifestyle, like everyone I am strapped for time and don’t want to eat fast food.

Pasta is great because we can add lots of veggies and it can be made in less time than delivery pizza.

Spaghetti aglio olio on a blue plate with a fork.

Back to spaghetti aglio olio…

It’s a simple but classic Italian pasta dish that is also great if you’re on a budget.

This easy pasta is so simple and it’s also quick. Ironically, after eating all day for work I come home and I’m hungry!

It isn’t until your body relaxes at home that you realize you need to eat something – NOW!

I always have dry pasta, garlic and parmesan in the fridge and if I have any greens like kale or chard it’s quick to drop in.

Spaghetti aglio olio is a classic Italian pasta with only five ingredients and can be made in less than 10 minutes.

What I love most about this dish is that it’s something I can make even on Sunday mornings after a late night out. 

Spaghetti aglio olio is originally from southern Italy in Naples and many variations exist, some add chili flakes others with parmesan or pecorino and many include parsley.

It’s a pasta that allows you to add whatever you might like so for me that’s often greens.

Spaghetti aglio olio is a classic Italian pasta with only five ingredients and can be made in less than 10 minutes.

For this recipe I used Catelli Smart spaghetti which is white pasta with a very high source of fiber.

I don’t care for the taste of whole wheat pasta so with this Smart line we can have white pasta but also the 8g of fibre per serving that comes along with it.

Spaghetti aglio olio on a blue plate and rustic background

Spaghetti Aglio Olio

Yield: 4-6 servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Cheap, quick and delicious there's nothing better than chili garlic parmesan pasta.


  • 50 grams Catelli Smart spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons Kosher salt 2 tablespoons for water 1 tablespoon for pasta
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Bring large pot of water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt to a boil.
  2. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.
  3. Drain and leave pasta in strainer.
  4. Return pot to medium heat, add olive oil and garlic, Saute one minute. Add chilis, pasta and 1
  5. tablespoon of kosher salt.
  6. Toss together and add 1/2 grated parmesan.
  7. Place in warm bowl and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 117Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 3252mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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Disclosure: This spaghetti aglio olio post is part of a four part series in partnership with Catelli Pasta, a great Canadian brand that has asked us to share our favourite pasta recipes. If they hadn’t approached us we would still be eating pasta 3-4 nights a week.

Join the Conversation

  1. Simple is beautiful!

  2. Henry / @fotoeins says:

    Want! (It so bad.) Aaaaand now, I’m hungry.

  3. Gabriella Mabias says:

    Love love love. Delicious and effortless.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It really is one of my favourites.

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