A classic Italian pasta staple with a twist! There are a million aglio e olio recipes out there so I have added a delicious crispy crunchy cannellini bean and sourdough topping. Aglio e olio literally translates to garlic and oil, one of the most simple pasta dishes but hits the spot every time, plus it's vegan! Hopefully this will become an easy weeknight go to.
Aglio e Olio with crispy toppings
Hello! I am writing up this super simple spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe which I hope you will love. I wanted to put my own spin on this Italian classic and have done so with the addition of a crunchy topping. The crispy golden roasted cannellini beans and sourdough croutons are the perfect textural contrast. Adding sourdough croutons to a pasta dish is my favourite thing as it always soaks up the sauce so perfectly.
Can you believe this is my first olive oil based sauce? As my name suggests I am usually all about the butter so make sure you check out my guide to the best butter sauce. If you want to make your own fresh pasta make sure you use my homemade pasta dough. If you want to keep it vegan as this sauce is then you could make my gnocchi sardi or orecchiette as they are flour and water doughs. Any dried pasta will work perfectly too!
Ingredients for Aglio e Olio
This is definitely my own spin on the classic recipe, I'm not claiming this to be a traditional version by any means. The true classic aglio e olio is just olive oil and garlic but it is very common to add parsley and chilli which I have done here.
Pasta - Traditionally it's spaghetti but I used linguine as it is what I had in the cupboard. Anything will work!
Olive oil - There aren't many ingredients to hide behind in this dish so using the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can will make a big difference.
Garlic - I LOVE garlic so I have used 5 - 6 cloves. You could use less if you like.
Chili Flakes - You could use fresh chilli but flakes are so easy. It adds a really nice little hum to the dish but you could definitely leave them out altogether.
Starchy Pasta Water - This is a key ingredient here and makes up a big part of the sauce. Make sure you reserve ½ cup before you drain.
Fresh Parsley - I use Italian flat leaf parsley and chop it really finely.
Ingredients for the crunchy topping
The amount of topping is going to be more than you need but you can save the rest to top anything else, a salad, some vegetables - anything! Leave it off altogether if you like!
Sourdough - I use one slice from a big loaf. If you don't have any sourdough you could use any kind of bread you like.
Cannellini beans - Roasting cannellini beans in the oven makes them into the most moreish crispy little treats. Perfect to top this pasta or just eating by the handful. Make sure you drain, rinse and dry them really well for maximum crunch.
Tips for the best aglio e olio
- Get all your ingredients prepped and ready - this comes together really quickly so get everything completely prepped before you start cooking.
- Slice your garlic, don't mince it - very important and try and slice really thinly.
- Heat the olive oil slowly - you DO NOT want to burn the garlic and this is the only recipe I add the garlic to cold oil in the pan! You want a balance of enough time to infuse the flavour and not browning or burning the garlic. A slight bit of colour is fine! The heat should get to a point where there is slight sizzling.
- Undercook your pasta - I tend to do this in all my recipes to allow it time to bubble away in the sauce and take on flavour without overcooking.
Why pasta water is your best friend for aglio e olio!
You'll hear me harp on about the magic that is pasta water in 99% of my recipes. It really is a key ingredient in every sauce I make. The starch left behind in the water acts as a thickening agent and helps sauces cling to the pasta. I couldn't make a sauce without it.
When I cook pasta I never EVER drain it in a colander, I always transfer it directly to the sauce using a spider strainer. That way the pasta pot full of starchy water is left there for you to ladle in as you need. Pasta water is a key ingredient in aglio e olio and make sure you give it a really good whisk when you add it to the oil.
Want some other sauces to try?
If you loved this and want to try a different version check out this cheesy aglio e olio I made for Yealands wines. It has parmsean cheese added for a non traditional twist! For some other amazing vegetarian pastas check out my Creamy Lemon Pasta, my Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Olives or my Best Broccoli Pasta.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print