Pasta Aglio e Olio

In the movie Chef, Casper, played by Jon Favreau, makes a lusciously oily, garlicky pasta for Scarlett Johansson's character, Molly, during one scene. Roy Choi, the mastermind behind Kogi BBQ, created all of the film's recipes, including this pasta. Choi makes the dish often, and Favreau asked for it specifically for the film. This is a traditional Neapolitan pasta that is popular for a variety of reasons: it's inexpensive, uses pantry ingredients, and is utterly delicious. Choi calls it "transcendence through a handful of humble ingredients."

Pasta Aglio e Olio
Photo: Aimee Lee Studios / Getty Images
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 12 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers

  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add spaghetti, cooking until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat olive oil over medium-low. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Add drained spaghetti to pan and toss, adding pasta water, until spaghetti is thoroughly coated.

  3. Remove pan from heat, add parsley, lemon juice, and Parmesan and toss well. Check for flavor, adding more salt if necessary. Garnish with more Parmesan, lemon wedges, and crushed red pepper flakes.

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