Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic, Herbs, and Parmesan

When I was a college student living on my own years ago, one of my go-to quick dishes was spaghetti noodles stirred in with a little olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and rosemary. It’s still a favorite comforting side dish, though I’ve fancied it up a notch with the use of angel hair pasta (so quick!), more herbs than just rosemary, sliced garlic, some red pepper flakes, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. In this recipe we are using rosemary, oregano, and thyme, sturdy herbs that grow year round outside my kitchen window. You could easily use other herbs. If you use more delicate herbs like tarragon or basil, I would recommend not heating them in the oil, but tossing them in at the end with the Parmesan cheese.

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Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic, Herbs, and Parmesan Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 as a side.

This recipe can easily be doubled. If you use delicate herbs such as basil or tarragon, toss them in at the end with the Parmesan.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. (1 Tbsp salt for every 2 quarts of water).

2 While the water is heating in step 1, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan on medium heat.  Add the sliced garlic, chili pepper flakes, finely chopped herbs, and chopped parsley to the oil.  Cook for one minute or until the parsley has wilted and the garlic is emitting a strong fragrance.  Remove from heat.

3 The angel hair past will cook in about 2 minutes once it starts, so get everything ready. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta.  Cook at a rolling boil until al dente. Drain the pasta and rinse briefly with cold water, just enough to stop the cooking, but not so much as to make the pasta cold. The pasta should still be quite warm.

4 Place pasta in a large bowl. Pour herbed garlic sauce over the pasta and gently toss to combine. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese  and freshly ground black pepper over the pasta and gently toss to combine.

Serve immediately as a side dish. Reheats well if you make ahead.

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30 Comments

  1. Lisa

    This looks so wonderful! I love the simplicity of recipes like this. Makes the flavors shine.

  2. Mike

    This reminds me of Cacio e Pepe which, I believe, uses butter instead of olive oil. I’m sure either would work fine!

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    This looks like such a fabulous weeknight meal! Love it!

  4. Nellie Yong

    I have never tried using rosemary or thyme in my pasta. Will definitely try this recipe but would like to up the nutrition value by adding at least a meat/seafood item and a vegetable item. Any recommendations? Thks.

    • Amanda

      If you’re looking to add meat/seafood and a vegetable item, I would recommend either chicken breast or sauteed shrimp. For a vegetable item you could try grilled broccoli or asparagus (cut up, or served on the side). :)

    • shawn

      I love this dish. I always add a thinly sliced jalapeno to the oil. This helps bring out the heat – you can keep the red pepper flakes in the cupboard – and brings a veggie to the party. Also, when boiling the angel hair I toss some shredded carrot into the pot for the last minute or so. Again ups the veggie count and brings some extra color to the plate.

    • Doug

      This is very similar to what I make up and Ill add chicken or tossin some snow peas kernnel corn and sundried tomatoes it is an easy and quick meal delicious no matter what you add use your imagination almost everything will work

    • KatieEl

      This is a meatless dish and is just fine that way.

  5. Alison

    Yum! With a newborn in the house, I’m so on the lookout for quick, easy meals these days ! ;-)

  6. Fernado

    Delicios, the typical Italian Recipe!

    Try to add ExtraVirgin Olive Oil to your recipe, will appreciate the quality of the taste!
    Congrats for your web.

    Regards from Malaga, Spain

  7. ChesterS

    Why rinse the pasta? I’ve always found that the small amount of cooking water that remains on the pasta helps to spread the sauce.

  8. lesle

    Simple and deeeee-lish! My kind of side dish!

  9. Candice

    Yum! I can’t wait to try this, it looks amazing!

  10. Dipti Joshi

    Simple, quick and tasty recipe!

  11. Kate S

    Hi! This sounds wonderful but: Don’t you lost all that lovely, wonderful starch when you rinse the pasta under the cold water?

    • Elise

      If you were going to add a liquidy sauce to the pasta, then yes. But since you are tossing it in olive oil I don’t think it makes much of a difference. If you want, you can reserve some of the cooking liquid and add it back in. I’m rinsing the pasta briefly with water just to get it to stop cooking.

  12. Kathy

    Been making something similar to this for awhile, I add a couple handfuls of broccoli (cut up small) to the pasta for 2 minutes while it is cooking. Great quick weeknight dinner.

  13. Nisrine

    Every now and then I feel like having a lighter pasta dish without a heavy sauce. This one sounds delightful and summery. I have plenty of fresh herbs in my garden right now and will try this recipe soon. Thanks.

  14. Lex

    I thought I invented this ‘dish’! Yes in my more frugal days this was my go-to meal. You can add Tabasco in place of chilli flakes for a strange yet similar twist. Even though this is a uni-student type thing, I still have this at least once a week.

    Things you can also add:

    marinated mushrooms
    Fried garlic (actually fried so they are hard and smoky, not the Asian-style ones)
    Truffle oil (calm down!)
    Quickly fried prosciutto bits (or bacon if we are harking back to the frugal days)

    Anyway thanks for the validation ;)

  15. Blake

    Not being a big fan of oregano, I switched it out for basil. And since I didn’t have fresh herbs I just used dried ones. I crushed up some dried rosemary and used powdered thyme. I did have some parsley in the freezer so I used that and I had a couple of bulbs of garlic on hand so the three cloves wasn’t a problem. I did add a bag of the tiny pre-cooked and shelled salad shrimp, thawed of course, when i tossed it all together. Sooooo gooood!
    I like the heat but someone that doesn’t care for it could leave out the pepper flakes as they add very little additional flavor, just mostly a little heat. And I haven’t tried it yet but I imagine if someone is allergic to wheat using rice noodles would work just as well. Thanks for a trerrific recipe!

  16. Liz

    Thank you. Nice and simple. Love pasta and I love basil. Have a great day!

  17. Tasha @ ThatsSoYummy

    I love the simplicity of this recipe, garlic, herbs and cheese sometimes is all you need

  18. Jayne

    We just had angel hair very similarly last night. I added a little serrano ham and fresh tomatoes. So satisfyingly simple.

  19. The Cocktail Lady

    That Angel Hair Pasta (one of my favorite pastas) sounds amazing with the garlic, herbs and parmesan cheese! I think I may just have to try this very soon!! Cheers!

  20. Alesia

    I just made this stuff and it was very quick and easy and also has normal ingredients that you would probably have in your house already ( which is why I chose it) :) it’s pretty good… It could use a bit of tweaking though :)

  21. Evon

    So simple, fresh, fast and flavorful. I added chicken breast and had a mixed baby green salad w/ cucumber and strawberries on the side. Oh and of course garlic bread. Everyone loved it and asked for seconds. Great way to use herbs from ur garden

  22. Sarah

    I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be using this recipe as a Valentine’s Day treat on Friday! I’m going to be making bacon-wrapped scallops and this pasta for dinner and since I’ll be stealing your recipe for dinner I thought I might share my dessert recipe with you! You seem to like the simple recipes (which in my opinion are the best…) and this dessert recipe couldn’t be easier and more delicious. I hope you enjoy :)

    Dark Chocolate Cups with Raspberry Mousse
    2 bars of your favorite dark chocolate
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    4-8 Tablespoons raspberry jam (depending on if you’d like a more delicate raspberry flavor or if you really want to taste it)

    Using an old egg carton or cup shaped chocolate mold, melt chocolate and pour into molds. Be sure to make a cup shape by turning your mold around a bit to coat the mold and keep it from pooling in the bottom. Place cups in freezer to set while you make the mousse. Whip heavy cream until just a bit thinner than the consistency of whipped cream. Add raspberry jam and whip until just a bit thicker than whipped cream. Spoon filling into chocolate cups. You can get very creative with a garnish for the cups by piping fun chocolate designs onto wax paper with a pastry bag or simply placing a nice, ripe raspberry on top. The same recipe can be made with strawberry jam or peach preserves… the list goes on (I’m just partial to raspberry!)

    Hope my recipe gets you as excited as your recipe made me.

    Sarah.

  23. Thomas

    I am cooking this dish on a regular basis. I really like it. Usually i use fresh chili peppers instead of dried ones. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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