Pasta Aglio Olio is a flirty dish to serve, at least, this is definitely true in the film Chef. I love this scene, where Jon Favreau is cooking up something wonderful for Scarlett Johansen, and after making this pasta for myself, I have to agree with Scarlett’s character, “Sigh.”

When pasta is perfect, you don’t really need words, just noises will do. And this is a very simple, whip it up as the pasta boils, kind of recipe. Perfect for flirting and making a good impression. Or perfect for an impatient night at home, when you just really want a bowl of pasta. Enjoy!


1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

12 ounces linguine or spaghetti

1 lemon, halved

Pecorino, for grating

Salt and pepper to taste


Put a pot of salted water on to boil. Put the oil, garlic and chili flake in a large deep pan set over medium-high heat, and cook until the garlic is translucent and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until it is al dente, nearly but not quite done and still a bit chalky in the middle. Drain, and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

When the oil has cooled for a couple of minutes, add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, and reduce over high heat by about half. Add the pasta, and stir vigorously as it continues to cook. Add the reserved pasta water a bit at a time as necessary to finish cooking the pasta, and develop the thickened sauce. Stir in the parsley. Juice the lemon half over the pasta. Season with salt, top with parm, and serve.