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As some of my regular readers may recall I recently provided a little cooking guidance to my dear Dad to hopefully save him from his cheese whiz cooking sauce… I still shudder at the thought!

Well the easy cream sauce recipe was such a hit, he asked me how to make pasta with olive oil as his attempts were not terribly successful. Pasta with olive oil seems fairly intuitive – pasta, garlic, oil, herbs – BUT then again I haven’t been proudly cooking with mayonnaise and cheese whiz.

Regardless this was a task I was happy to help with since I also love a simple dinner of pasta with olive oil, few herbs and garlic. It is something I started making for myself when I first was living on my own in university. So easy, inexpensive and even as an undergrad you always have the ingredients in your cupboard! Top with a few sprigs of fresh parsley and this simple dish can look surprisingly elegant if you have guests.

Back to the intuitive nature of this dish..  It maybe isn’t completely fair to say since if you just mix pasta, oil, garlic, and herbs it probably won’t come together great. The step that most people miss (I believe) is mixing in a little bit of the starchy pasta water with the oil. It helps to bind everything together and the sauce to coat the pasta better. I also generally don’t rinse my pasta when cooking this dish leaving all the starchy goodness intact.

To help my Dad along in his cooking adventures, I decided to send along the recipe with a care package consisting of some high quality olive oil from Evoolution, and spices from Silk Road Spice Merchant. Both are local shops, but do offer shipping (anywhere I believe). With a simple dish like this the ingredients have no where to hide, so it is important to use good quality ingredients to get great flavor into your dish. And while fresh herbs are great they aren’t always on hand, or practical for bachelors!


Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil and Herbs

Serves 2


  • 1/2 pound dried pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon dried herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano – your choice)
  • Salt & Pepper, to season


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions in salted water. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.
  2. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the garlic, herbs and cook, stirring, making sure it doesn’t brown but until garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat.
  3. Toss with the cooked pasta with the oil mixture. Season with pepper, top with grated cheese if you so desire 🙂


Do you have a simple recipe that’s a treasured favourite? I’d love for you to share it! 🙂