Garlic Basil Pasta (A Frugal Dinner Idea)

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The easiest simple — yet delicious — dinner idea: garlic basil pasta (Aglio e olio). Fresh herbs and a lot of garlic for an explosive result.

You may think that, as a food blogger, I make ceviche or cannelloni every single night at dinner. Reality is that sometimes my dinners look this way: me in my lazy pants with a big bowl of this ridiculously easy garlic basil pasta watching The Office.

The truth is that simple recipes don’t have to mean boring and unseasoned food.

Garlic, fresh basil leaves, butter, and parmesan cheese transform an otherwise humble pasta into a delicious restaurant-like pasta with bold flavor that works harmoniously.

Also, it takes less than 20 minutes!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can customize it with the ingredients you already have in your fridge. It can be as simple or complex as you prefer.

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My favorite add-ons to the pasta: 

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Prosciutto
  • Chili flakes

A few tips for the perfect garlic pasta:

  • I combine equal parts of salted butter with olive oil. This way I get the creaminess of the butter and the Mediterranean flavor of the olive world. The best of two worlds. 
  • I cut the garlic in medium-sized slices. You can see in the picture below the perfect thickness. If it is too thin it will burn too easily. 
  • I prefer coarse ground black pepper. It gives way more flavor than finely ground black pepper. 
  • I add the parmesan cheese right at the end with the pasta. It will melt with the residual heat. 

Other Pasta Recipes

4.23 from 9 votes
Garlic Basil Pasta (A Frugal Dinner Idea)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
The easiest simple — yet delicious — dinner idea: garlic basil pasta. Fresh herbs and a lot of garlic for an explosive result.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: creamy garlic pasta, garlic basil pasta
Servings: 4 people
  • 400 gr spaghetti or linguini
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste
  1. Cook the pasta according to its package instructions. I prefer my pasta al dente.
  2. Cut the garlic cloves into medium size slices (see the pictures for reference). Chop the basil leaves roughly.
  3. In a pan, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil.
  4. Toss the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir constantly to avoid burning the garlic.
  5. Add the basil, black pepper and salt if needed. Cook for a minute. Add the cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. Remove to coat all the pasta with the sauce. Serve.

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