Wednesday, July 7

Aglio e Olio

Aglio e Olio is a huge inspiration for my cookbook.  It’s an old Italian recipe that remains a Ruffo household staple on Sunday nights (Sunday nights are always pasta nights and Ruffo is my Family’s name).

Aglio e Olio is a modest dish based on the fusion of the two primary ingredients that make up its name, Garlic (Aglio) and Olive Oil (Olio).  It’s the ultimate comfort food, and while I wouldn’t necessarily put this one in the summer category of recipes, my favorite version (featured below) is churched-up with seasonal summer veggies, sauteed of course, in garlic and olive oil.  This week I was inspired by what arrived in my CSA box: zucchini, summer squash and gorgeous heirloom tomatoes (the best I’ve ever had by the way!).  The simplicity of this dish is the best part…it doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not…

This understated recipe is sure to win major points among friends, boyfriends, girlfriends and the like (I wouldn’t recommend this for a first date though…the garlic breath is a little intense).  Keep in mind, measurements are approximate and it may take some trial and error.  The first few times I made it on my own I was frustrated that it tasted nothing like my Gram’s, but keep in mind, even the worst Aglio e Olio can handily beat a box of Mac & Cheese.  Taste test along the way and don’t be afraid to add more salt as it helps to enhance your prized ingredients.  And just wait until you eat the leftovers the next day…


1 pound vermicelli or linguine

8  cloves of garlic, minced (this makes for a strong dish, so do less if you’re afraid)

*1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half, seasoned with salt n’ peppa and set aside (*or whatever is fresh and in season )

1/4 cup freshly chopped basil (about a handful)

1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp dried basil or Italian seasonings

Red pepper flakes (lots if you like it hot!)

Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup reserved pasta water or chicken stock

Parmigiano Reggiano


Bring pot of cold water to a boil; add pasta and lots of salt.  Cook al dente, typically 7 minutes; drain.  Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water.

While pasta is cooking, quickly saute garlic in olive oil.  Add dried basil, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat if necessary to prevent the garlic from burning.

Two minutes before pasta is finished cooking, add chopped tomatoes or other veggies, fresh parsley and basil to garlic and olive oil.  Add about 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water.  Pour garlic and olive oil mixture over pasta, adding more reserved pasta water if dried out, being careful not to add too much as this can water down the flavors.

Top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper if necessary.



  1. Questo piatto guarda ed è delizioso! Mi avere aguli! mmmmm.

  2. This looks Fabulous daughter! Oh, How I miss Sunday dinners at Grandma's, oh so yummy!

  3. Mmm! This one has become a Renfrow family favorite...and Danny is definitely not shy with the garlic. Yes, good thing we're married. Now if we could just get the little one to give garlic kisses.

    This one actually reminds me more of your dad than grandma. He'd work his magic after church in the warm kitchen for us all and then- ever the tired chef- retire to the carpet where he'd often have small children using him as some sort of gym apparatus. We were all happy, stuffed, and entirely unappreciative of his weekly efforts.

    I'm suddenly quite hungry.

    P.S. Ryan, you're a total show-off. I no comprende. :)

  4. How yummy is that! The more garlic the better. Oh, the memories come flooding in. All those great Ruffo and James get togethers. Guess what Joey is getting for dinner tonight??

  5. This is the 2nd occasion I have come across your blog post in the last couple weeks. Seems like I ought to take note of it.