Note: This was first posted in Jun 2008, now updated with new photos and improved recipe.
I really love Aglio e Olio, and it is my go-to one-dish pasta dish whenever I am out of ideas of what to cook. While the original and authentic recipe for Aglio e Olio is plain, it is now common to see all types of variations of Aglio e Olio, just like this plate cooked with fresh prawns (or my other plate of scallops Aglio Olio).
And I think why not, cooking should be improvising and flexible – adding additional ingredients definitely make the usual Aglio e Olio a more complete and interesting meal. Since I have been making Aglio e Olio so frequently at home, we seldom, if not never, order Aglio e Olio outside anymore, mainly because we can make it at a fraction of the cost at home. The money to me, is more well spent paying for fresh, large prawns and perhaps a bottle of fine white wine to go with the pasta. And there is a whole lot more flexibility when cooking this at home to adjust the taste to our own preference (for example, I love XXL prawns and extra heat).
Cooking Aglio e Olio is definitely not difficult, requiring very basic ingredients. Check out my tips for making basic Aglio Olio here. The extra step of boiling the prawn heads and shells will add some umami-ness to the Aglio Olio, but you can skip this step and use pasta water if out of time. Thanks to reader BC for sharing his wonderful tips on Aglio e Olio making.
If you are not making the prawns stock (step 2), reserve some pasta water and add it in place of the prawn stock in the last step.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins