Budget Pasta Aglio e Olio

Disclaimer: Um, I don’t know. All rights to the movie Chef I guess? Well, not really since it isn’t Chef’s original recipe, but you get the point.

By now you may have noticed my food-related posts are often a compensation for the lack of activity on this “blog” that I had promised myself to maintain. But listen, I’m suffering through a combination of impostor syndrome and writer’s block for the past… well, forever. So sue me, I’m a bit dry on inspiration.

Which is why I could not be happier than having tried this recipe on this gracious, god-gifted day, because I finally have something to talk about that might not be super repetitive in 2018!

We all remember Chef; a cinematic piece that changed the culinary scene in the film industry. While I quite adore bits of the movie – that supposedly sounds like the premise of bad reality TV, but turns out to be a heartwarming slice-of-life family film – the true stars of Jon Favreau’s whole shindig were the actual dishes that increased my calorie count just by looking at it.

(And the random Iron Man 2 cast pretending like it’s completely not weird to see Black Widow as a waitress and Tony Stark owning a spare food truck. )

So, after wasting an entire weekend watching Binging with Babish episodes and not having the insight of restocking my groceries whilst doing so, I decided to use any remaining ingredients to make something resembling Adult Food™.

Pasta aglio e olio is the perfect combination of broke college student and classic, rich decadency in one perfect dish of spaghetti . It has a maximum of 6 ingredients, and takes about 20 minutes to make.

This recipe gets you full with very little, and gives you the power of repelling vampires with your heavy garlic breath, so win-win, really.

Listen, you knew what you were getting into when you clicked on this blog, so don’t come at me with how it looks – I’m aware and very very sorry. This is both the final product and a warning to not ingest more than this recommended amount. You will hate yourself.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time:  15 minutes? 20, perhaps.
Feeds:  3 people with decent self-control.

Below are the recommended ingredients versus the ones I used, which also worked just fine (the dish in itself was delicious as all hell with my rip-off ingredients, so you can imagine how divine it would taste with proper chef etiquette).



  • 220 g spaghetti or linguini
  • 120 g “extra virgin” olive oil
  • 6-7 cloves (or half a head) garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese to taste (optional)

My-Fridge-Has-Only-Condiments Version

  • 200-250 g whatever long noodley pasta you have, I used Capellini (whatever the hell that is) because it was on sale
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • A solid 100 ml (or more) of olive oil that happened to be extra virgin and cheap when I bought it
  • Dried parsley powder that was in the kitchen for lord knows how long
  • Way more than 1 tsp of red chili flakes. I like ’em spicey
  • 1/2 or more lemon
  • Salt
  • I didn’t have pepper at home
  • Nor did I have any cheese
  • I told you I didn’t go shopping


  1. Keep a large pot of water on high heat to boil and add a generous amount of salt in it.
  2. Peel and cut your garlic cloves into slices.
  3. Cut the parsley (if fresh) and put aside. If you’re using dry parsley, obviously skip this step.
  4. Take a large pan and dunk your olive oil into it on high heat. Or you know, if you don’t want to use two pans, cook your pasta first and keep it aside, and use the same pot for the ~sauce~
  5. When the oil heats up all proper, add your garlic slices and wait for them to turn golden brown.
  6. Add the red chili flakes and give it a thorough stir.
  7. Kill the heat on the stove and add the pasta into it, followed by shaking it like there’s no tomorrow. You can also add a few spoonfuls of pasta water* to ensure it’s not too dry.
  8. Put in the parsley and lemon juice, and mix it some more; or as the fancy recipe dictates: “toss until combined.”
  9. Sprinkle your salt and pepper.
  10. Plate it like they do in the movie and NOT A NOODLE MORE. It’s a heavy freaking dish and you will regret taking seconds. Trust me, I know.
  11. Serve or whatever.
* Pasta water is the most disgusting thing that has been uttered from my mouth and typed up by my fingers ever. Give that a thought.

The best part about this recipe is how easy it is. You cannot possibly fudge it up, and if you do, I’m judging you long and hard. Alone and hungry? Whip up some fancy-schmancy pasta! Guests coming over? Well, you’re not gonna regretti this spaghetti. To me, this recipe felt like the appetizing embodiment of divine intervention saving your ass from starving: incredibly surprising, but always welcome. I hope it feels that way with you too!

If you’re using my ingredients, the resultant dish will look pretty shit, not gonna lie. It will still taste fantastic though. However, if you can afford to be a culinary master with a well-stocked refrigerator, your dish should look more alive and err… green. Either way, certainly better than that bland-looking hospital food up there.

And that’s that, I guess. I hope this recipe comes in useful to somebody even though it is a pretty common and completely Not New thing.

I’ll try to churn up some better content next time, promise.

(Okay, no promises because we both know I’m the most inconsistent person you have encountered today).

(Update: The next blog post is most likely the recipe for a key-lime pie because happy coincidences are a theme of my life at the moment.)


5 thoughts on “Budget Pasta Aglio e Olio

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