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Pasta Recipe Using Garlic and Olive Oil

Updated on March 17, 2011

A Zillion Varieties of Pasta

Pasta Without Tomato Sauce

Pasta dishes make for a quick, wholesome, filling main course or a versatile side dish. Pasta is easy to make, and most pasta recipes revolve around three basic ingredients:

  • Pasta noodles come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and textures: spaghetti, linguini, macaroni, bowties, penne pasta, rotini, lasagne and many more.
  • Cheese is a staple in Pasta, with the most common being Romano, Parmesan and mozzarrella.
  • Pasta sauce is a source of fierce pride for cooks who have perfected their ideal pasta sauce recipe, which in some families is passed down through the generations.

However, some pasta lovers are allergic to tomatoes, or dislike the texture of tomato sauce. Fortunately, it is possible to make delicious pasta without tomato sauce by cooking a pasta recipe that calls for pasta with olive oil instead.

This is a variation of a very old, authentic Italian dish called "pasta aglio e olio" (garlic and olive oil), but it's much more versatile than the name implies. In fact, it's so good, it may make tomato sauce a thing of the past for you and your family.

Easy Pasta Recipe With Garlic and Olive Oil - No Tomato Sauce!

  1. Cook the pasta of your choice in a large pot filled with rolling boiling water. I personally like this dish with penne pasta or spaghetti for this pasta recipe, but any kind will do. The box in which the pasta came is typically the best indicator of serving sizes, and of how much cooking time the pasta needs. 
  2. Drain the pasta in a large colander over a sink, and immediately put the pasta back into the still-hot pan. Cover it and set it aside.
  3. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a small sauté pan for one minute on medium heat. Use one teaspoon of oil per serving, plus one teaspoon extra for cooking. For example, if you're making four servings, heat 5 teaspoons of olive oil in total. Use the finest cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil you can afford. You will taste the difference.
  4. Stir-fry one tablespoon of freshly minced garlic per serving in the heated oil at low heat for just one or two minutes, until the garlic is just slightly translucent and fragrant, but not browning.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the minced garlic in the heated oil.
  6. Immediately pour the olive oil and garlic mixture over the pasta and toss gently with two large spoons, coating the pasta evenly. Allow it to sit for 2 minutes. Most of the olive oil will be excess, and will settle at the bottom of the pot beneath the pasta. You can line the pot with several layers of paper towels prior to dumping the pasta back into the pot from the colander. With this technique, the fat content of the olive oil isn't nearly as big a concern as it would seem.
  7. Sprinkle Italian seasoning to taste over the pasta, and blend again, though not as thoroughly. I like plain oregano or freshly chopped basil. Mrs. Dash's Table Blend or Italian Medley are ready-made options, but salt and pepper to taste will do just fine, too.
  8. Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste. I recommend at least two tablespoons per serving for this garlic pasta recipe for the most balanced flavors.
  9. Lightly toss in cooked vegetables or legumes at this stage, if you wish: cooked peas or beans, steamed broccoli, red and green peppers, mushrooms, or anything else your family enjoys - even chicken, shrimp, scallops or anchovies.
  10. Serve the pasta with olive oil while it's still hot with slotted spoons or serving tongs.
  11. Garnish each serving with one extra tablespoon of shredded Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

The Tools of the Trade

Tips For Garlic Pasta With Olive Oil Recipe

You can have a lot of fun experimenting with this easy pasta recipe. Its possibilities are truly endless, healthy, and delicious - and tomato-free!

  • Experiment with different cheeses, or a blend of several varieties.
  • Use garlic powder if you're not fond of fresh garlic but you like the taste of garlic pasta.
  • Add a flavored or aromatic olive oil such as bergamot or lemon - heavenly!
  • Make extra. This pasta recipe tends not to reheat very well, but since it's not drenched in tomato sauce, its leftovers are perfect for reusing in a fritatta the next day.
  • Cut the oil by half and toss a bit more thoroughly if you're worried about the fat content.

Try whatever you have on hand and experiment with different ingredients and you'll never be bored by a pasta recipe again!

How to Cook Pasta


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    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      6 years ago from California

      I love pasta with olive oil and herbs. Eat it like that almost every time. When prepared that way, it compliments so many foods. Great information and well done! Voted up, shared and linked to my "Eating Healthy~Feeling Great" Recipe Series. Lisa

    • dearabbysmom profile image


      7 years ago from Indiana

      Nice to see a pasta recipe without a tomato-based OR heavy cream-based sauce. Sounds light and healthy.

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Looking forward to trying this soon. Thanks!

    • shewritesright profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Boston, MA

      It's really good! I have relatives who like buttered noodles too, but the olive oil and the garlic give it a much fuller flavor, imho, especially with a nice, light Parmesan. Let me know what you think!

    • Obelia profile image


      7 years ago from GA

      I've used garlic butter and usually cook with evoo, but I don't remember using the garlic and oil solely as my topping. I think I may try it with my snack this week.

    • shewritesright profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Boston, MA

      That sounds fantastic, Maria! I usually make it with whole grain noodles, but I've never tried it with quinoa pasta - let me know how it turns out!

    • MariaWrites profile image


      7 years ago

      This looks wonderful. I'm going to give it a try with some quinoa pasta. Can't wait!


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