Spaghetti Aglio e Olio e Salsiccia (Spaghetti With Garlic, Olive Oil & Sausage)

January 15, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Featured in: The Absurdly Easy Pasta Trick for the Most Swoon-Worthy Spaghetti.

Ella Quittner

Serves: 4
Cook time: 15 min


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 pound (roughly 450 grams) sweet Italian sausage (3 or 4 depending on size), uncased
  • 1/4 cup finely minced garlic (from about 6 to 8 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1 cup very finely grated Parmesan (about 2.5 ounces), plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped parsley, packed, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
In This Recipe


  1. Add the dried spaghetti to a 12-inch skillet or sauté pan (or a 10-inch will work fine if that’s what you’ve got), and cover the noodles fully with water, filling the skillet about two-thirds of the way total. Add several large pinches of salt. Set over a medium flame. (Cooking the pasta this way yields much starchier water, which’ll help thicken our sauce later.)
  2. While the pasta water heats, brown the sausage: In a separate large pot (big enough to hold all of the pasta, eventually), heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over a medium-high flame until very hot and glistening. Add the uncased sausage and brown thoroughly on one side without jostling, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted or wooden spoon to break the sausage into small, bite-sized pieces as you flip to brown its other side thoroughly. Once fully browned and cooked through, use a slotted spoon to move the sausage to a separate plate off heat.
  3. Check on your pasta. When the water has come to a boil, you want to let it go for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the noodles are pliable but still quite al dente (you’ll be cooking them for another 2 minutes later, in the sauce, and letting them hang out in the hot water in the meantime, which will cook them more). Turn off the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, back in the big pot, drain about half of the sausage fat and oil, then add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium-low flame. (This will give the final dish a subtle—but not overwhelming—sausage flavor.) Don’t worry about any straggler fennel seeds that have fallen out of the sausage pieces, into the oil. Add the garlic and sauté about 3 minutes, until fragrant and just starting to toast. Add the red chili flakes and sauté another 30 seconds. Use a measuring cup to transfer 2 1/4 cups of the starchy pasta cooking water from the skillet to the pot of garlic and red chili flakes. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot and turn heat to medium-high to bring the water to a rolling simmer. Reduce by about one-half, which will take roughly 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the flame down to low.
  5. Then, using tongs or two slotted spoons (or, if you’re me, some precarious combination of forks), transfer over the spaghetti from the skillet of water into the pot with the reduced sauce. Add the grated Parmesan, parsley, sausage pieces, and salt. Toss together over the low flame until the cheese melts and an emulsified sauce coats all of the noodles. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve immediately while hot, garnished with more grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.

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Reviews (12) Questions (2)

12 Reviews

Nicole K. February 4, 2019
This pasta turned out very good! I love these flavors and the ease of getting everyone fed quickly. One call out from me is that I have an electric stove so at medium heat my noodles became al dente without ever boiling, so watch those noodles if you’re cooking on an electric stove.
Author Comment
Ella Q. February 4, 2019
Hi Nicole,<br /><br />So happy to hear that! And thank you for that intel, re: electric stovetops, it's very helpful to know.<br /><br />Ella
Lori M. February 4, 2019
My husband and I made this using a 12+ oz box of pasta. We will definitely make this again but really think 8 oz pasta is plenty. We just don't pack in the carbs anymore. But this is very easy and so tasty.
Misty212 January 29, 2019
is there an alternative to the sausage (besides mushrooms)? Just wondering if you get the same flavor if you don't use any meat?
Author Comment
Ella Q. January 29, 2019
Hi!<br /><br />You can skip the sausage totally, if you'd like—traditionally aglio e olio just begins with the garlic sautéing step (my addition of sausage is a modification). If you'd like to add something extra, besides mushrooms, I'd suggest draining a can of chickpeas and lightly frying/smashing them in oil with some s&p, then using those in the pasta for extra flavor and texture. Let me know if you try this!
Maureen M. January 26, 2019
I made this for dinner tonight. I used Gluten Free spaghetti (Barilla brand which is corn and rice mix). I decreased the salt and the Red Chili flakes (1/2 teaspoon - hot enough for me). <br />My noodles broke apart, so next time I will decrease cooking time - GF noodles are finicky for sure. It was a big hit with my husband. Delicious, easy, and quick. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It’s a keeper!
Veronica's V. January 24, 2019
Great recipe. I wanted to make it without meat so I added some grilled corn and Kalamata olives. It was absolutely delicious thank you for posting this recipe it's a winner!
Author Comment
Ella Q. January 25, 2019
Sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing!
Connor B. January 24, 2019
This pasta changed my life.
Author Comment
Ella Q. January 24, 2019
It wants to be there for you on a weeknight!
jackie D. January 24, 2019
So simple. So good and light. Thanks for sharing.
Author Comment
Ella Q. January 24, 2019
Thank you Jackie! So glad you enjoyed it. :)