Weeknight Cooking

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

January 15, 2019
41 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • panania
  • Pam Shropshire
    Pam Shropshire
  • Nicole Kriedeman
    Nicole Kriedeman
  • Veronica's View
    Veronica's View
  • Connor Bower
    Connor Bower

20 Reviews

Canadian54 February 20, 2023
This was sooo good! I have never used the spaghetti water for sauce! Had some mild Italian sausage that I needed to use up and google brought up this recipe! I knew the sausage was already spicy so I used a scant tsp of Chili flakes and thought 1/4 c garlic would be too much so I used 3 cloves. Next time I’ll use more. And didn’t even have fresh parsley but still this was incredible! It will be next level when I get proper ingredients and do it again!
Katevonl November 10, 2021
This is TERRIFIC!! We love spice (i used hot Italian sausage and a pinch more red pepper flakes…a little tooooo spicy!). I also used oricchetti pasta which “captured” the sauce and sausage! My husband, who is a tough critic, went back for seconds!
I’m trying to figure out a way to serve this to guests…I think you can do everything up to putting the pasta into the pot beforehand. Then all you need to do is cook down the sauce and then add everything. Does that work? Has anyone else tried to do this?
panania May 30, 2021
This was truly a great recipe. I always do a recipe twice; just to make sure. This was great both times. The only difference was in appearance. The first time my pan was too hot when I put the garlic in and it browned. That made the whole sauce appear brown. The second time I took my pan off the flame when I took the sausage out and added the oil and garlic after it cooled bit. Same great taste, but much lighter. Excellent.
mjl218 April 17, 2020
This is seriously good. I like spicy foods and used 1tbsp of red pepper, but even i might tone it down a bit next time (but i also used spicy sausage). added in some frozen peas.
Pam S. July 1, 2019
Wonderful! I had Italian sausage in casings and I didn’t bother to remove it; I just cut it into about 3/4 inch pieces. Everything else as written. Super quick, minimal dishes to wash, and most importantly, super delicious! This is going into the regular rotation.
ustabahippie June 21, 2019
I’ve been cooking pasta in way less water since the drought here in CA. Works for me.
Susan April 8, 2019
This recipe was really good!! I actually used pancetta in place of sausage and I used 2 tsp. Of red chili flakes and it was SUPER spicy. Will cut back to probably 1/2 tsp. (1 T. Is a ton!!), but otherwise this was delicious!!
Bee March 18, 2019
This recipe is a keeper! i just used ground pork and seasoned it. SO delicious and so cheap!
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.
Ella Q. February 4, 2019
Hi Nicole,

So happy to hear that! And thank you for that intel, re: electric stovetops, it's very helpful to know.

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?
Ella Q. January 29, 2019

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).
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!
Ella Q. January 25, 2019
Sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing!
Connor B. January 24, 2019
This pasta changed my life.
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.
Ella Q. January 24, 2019
Thank you Jackie! So glad you enjoyed it. :)