I dare say, this simple Mediterranean olive oil pasta is textbook Mediterranean diet deliciousness! It skips all the fluff and heavy sauces in favor of extra virgin olive oil and a few ingredients.
This simple olive oil pasta recipe takes inspiration from a Naples dish called “spaghetti aglio e olio. Or,”spaghetti with garlic and oil.”
In a typical spaghetti aglio e olio recipe, pasta is coated in a simple garlic-olive oil sauce, then garnished with parsley and grated Parmesan.
But this Mediterranean olive oil pasta goes just a little bit further, by adding a few favorite ingredients like grape tomatoes and olives.
A couple of tips for this olive oil pasta
First, this dish makes a feature of extra virgin olive oil and relies heavily on its flavor. The oil is briefly heated through, but not cooked. That’s why you’ll want to use the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can afford.
Remember, oils that are simply labeled “pure” have usually been heat-treated and refined by mechanical means and, consequently, lack character and flavor.
Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For this recipe, I always use our Greek Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil. It is organically grown and processed from native Koroneiki olives, which are hand-picked early in the season while still green, and processed within hours to make this prized ‘liquid gold’ they call ‘agoureleo.’
Our Early Harvest oil is an exquisite cold extracted and unfiltered oil with a perfectly balanced complexity— rich green, fruity and pungent with a peppery finish. Our oil features exceptionally high levels of polyphenols and low acidity of less than 0.35%.
It makes a ton of difference in dishes like this Mediterranean olive oil pasta.
Secondly, when making the sauce, do not allow the garlic to brown, it will taint its flavor. If it does brown or burns, you’ll need to toss it and start over.
- 1 Kg thin spaghetti
- 1/2 cup Early Harvest Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 12 oz grape tomatoes, halved
- 3 scallions (green onions), top trimmed, both whites and greens chopped
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup pitted olives, halved
- 10–15 fresh basil leaves, torn
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- Follow package instructions to cook thin spaghetti pasta to al dente (mine took 6 minutes to cook in plenty of boiling water with salt and olive oil).
- When pasta is almost cooked, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Lower the heat and add garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for 10 seconds, stirring regularly. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes and chopped scallions. Cook over low heat until just warmed through, about 30 seconds or so.
- When the pasta is ready, remove from heat, drain cooking water and return to its cooking pot. Pour the warmed olive oil sauce in and toss to coat thoroughly. Add black pepper and toss again to coat.
- Add the remaining ingredients and toss one more time. Serve immediately in pasta bowls, and if you like, top each with more basil leaves. Enjoy!