Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil, and Chile

spaghetti with garlic oil and chile served on gray plate
Photo: Johnny Miller
Total Time:
25 mins

To make this 25-minute pasta dish that uses practically pantry-exclusive ingredients, olive oil and garlic go into a cold pan and warm up together to let their flavors meld and infuse. Then pasta water gets tossed in—not just for a splash of liquid, but to become part of the sauce and stop the garlic from getting darker. Add a little fresh chile, toss in the noodlesto coat, grate some Parmesan on top, and you have an easy dinner in the bowl.


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 8 ounces spaghetti or spaghettini

  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced garlic (from 4 cloves)

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

  • 1 Fresno or long finger chile, thinly sliced

  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (1 cup), plus more for serving (optional)

  • Fresh basil leaves, for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Stir in spaghetti and cook until slightly less than al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain.

  2. Meanwhile, add garlic and oil to a cold large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is just golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sage and chile; cook 1 minute more. Stir in 1/2 cup pasta water and a few grinds of pepper. Increase heat to high and cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add pasta; toss to coat.

  3. Remove skillet from heat, add cheese, and toss vigorously, adding more pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper and serve, with basil leaves and more cheese scattered over top.

Cook's Notes

Fresh chile adds heat and delicate flavor, but you can remove the seeds if you prefer less spice.

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