Pasta Aglio e Olio for Scarlett Johansson from the Movie ‘Chef’

by Dorothy Reinhold on February 9, 2020

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Do not, under any circumstances, be hungry when you see the movie “Chef.”

You’ll be ravenous just minutes into it, and by the middle of the film, the borborygmi  (fancy word for growling and rumbling from your stomach) will be cacophonous and drown out the sound track. Soon your body sounds will disturb other movie watchers.  

Loved the movie (not surprising, since it is about a high-octane chef who spectacularly flames out and culinarily reawakens as the owner of a Cuban-centric food truck he names El Jefe). Highly recommend you see it, since, if you’re reading this, you love cooking / thinking / dreaming / fantasizing/ eating food. It’s a great date movie, released in May 2014, and every time I flip by it on TV, I stop to watch. You can also watch it on streaming services.

Chef-movie-poster | ShockinglyDelicious.comMemorable food peppers the film, all of it developed by chef Roy Choi (who started the food truck craze with his wildly popular Kogi Korean taco truck in Los Angeles). You’ll want it all, from the signature sandwich called Mojo Pork Cubanos to the Tostones with Chile Vinegar (fried green plaintain) and the Berries in Cream with Caramel Dust. Caramel dust? I am all in.

But what stayed on my mind long after I saw the movie is the simple classic Italian dish, a plate of pasta that Jon Favreau’s chef character Casper serves to Scarlett Johansson’s restaurant hostess/girlfriend character Molly. It’s a clothing-on erotic scene to watch him prepare a skillet full of this pasta for his gorgeous girlfriend. When she closes her eyes, tastes it and moans in ecstasy at the sensual flavor of it, you imagine…well…we’ll leave it to your own imagination.

Choi makes the dish (which he calls “transcendence through a handful of humble ingredients”) every Sunday night at home, and Favreau asked for it specifically for the film so Casper could impress Molly. “He knew it would get her where he wanted her,” says Choi.

Scarlett-Johansson-from-the-movie-Chef | ShockinglyDelicious.comLet’s have what SHE’S having for dinner. 

Recipe: Pasta Aglio e Olio from the movie Chef

Summary: Pasta Aglio e Olio translates as spaghetti with garlic and oil in Italian). Traditional, simple, luxurious, easy-to-make meal with ingredients you always have on hand.


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 lemons


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the spaghetti, cooking until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir frequently until the garlic is golden brown. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the drained spaghetti directly to the pan. Toss until spaghetti is thoroughly coated with the garlic oil.
  4. Remove pan from heat, add the parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Check for flavor and adjust the salt if necessary. Squeeze lemons on to taste. Garnish with more Parmesan.
  5. Serves 4.

Recipe source

This is a classic Italian recipe. This particular version is the official recipe created for and made in the film “Chef” by Chef Roy Choi. For more info, visit the movie website.

Other recipes from the movie ‘Chef’Chef-movie-cookbook-on-Bakespace |

Six pivotal recipes from the movie are in a free e-cookbook available at Bakespace. Look for the “Chef the Film Cookbook: Recipes from El Jefe.”

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: Italian
My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 

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Pasta Aglio e Olio from the movie Chef on

This was originally published on Shockingly Delicious June 27, 2014 and has been refreshed and republished today.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Valentino May 9, 2015 at 10:24 am

many cook pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino with the recipe shown in the movie. That’s quite good, but in my opinion the taste can be much improved if the garlic is NOT BURNT. My recipe? put TOP quality olive oil in a pan, add the minced peppers and warm it up. As soon as it fries, cut the flame and add the garlic. Toss the pasta and serve with parsley to your liking (no parsley is ok, even better IMO).

Even faster? ok. Just serve the spaghetti on the dish, add minced garlic, oil and peppers while still steamy. a 20 seconds recipe 😛

This dish is NOT supposed to be eaten with parmesan or any other cheese, because the taste doesn’t fit with the garlic, and also because there’s already the oil (which should be abundant) as the fat component in the dish. If the oil is good (extra-virgin olive oil), there’s no need for added flavor. You should toss the spaghetti in the pan for no more than 30 seconds, medium flame.


Dorothy Reinhold May 10, 2015 at 5:29 am

I can see this recipe struck a nerve with you. Thanks for your ideas, and you have convinced me to try it your way with pepperoncino. (I will just note that this is the recipe from the movie “Chef,” and I don’t know that the movie people are claiming it as a strict Italian replica. It’s just the recipe that the Chef character serves to the restaurant hostess in a memorable scene.) Mangia!


David Mancha February 13, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Chef the Movie


Dorothy Reinhold February 14, 2015 at 6:34 am

I just watched it again last night! It finally came onto Netflix! Great movie. Love it.


ydc February 8, 2015 at 5:32 pm

in the movie, he used vidalia onions


Dorothy Reinhold February 9, 2015 at 7:48 am

Hmmm…really? I didn’t remember that. I’ve been waiting for the movie to show up on Netflix so I can watch it again! I thought it was so good…I could watch it several more times and I’m sure I will get new things each time. (This recipe was provided to me by the movie company as the official recipe.)


Shraddha December 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Thank you for posting this! It is one of my fav recipes from the movie. However when I tried making this at home the parsley and Parmesan sort of clumped together (with the olive oil) rather than coating the pasta beautifully (the way it should have!). Would you maybe know what I am doing wrong? I really would love to recreate this in my kitchen.
Thanks so much!


Dorothy Reinhold December 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I would be tempted to plate the oiled-up pasta, and then sprinkle on the parsley and Parmesan, stirring it in as I ate it. See if that works for you! Hope that helps.


SwankyTy November 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm

I might have cooked this wrong, but I prefer the version where some of the sphagetti water is added to the cooked garlic and olive oil – makes sort of a sauce that you simmer off. In this recipe, I tend to have burnt noodles in the pan.


Dorothy Reinhold November 29, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Sure, you can do that! I haven’t burned the noodles, but sure, do it with a splash of pasta water.


Nicole November 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I bought the movie on iTunes and watch it on my iPad during my commute. I saw it twice in the theater as well. I have yet to make this recipe but I definitely will soon! Thanks for all the tips. I think I will added lemon zest in lieu of the juice…just to give it a light lemon flavor 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold November 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Sounds good!


Tamara Sinobas October 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Awesome movie and I am so making this Pasta Aglio, cannot wait to taste it


Dorothy Reinhold October 19, 2014 at 5:51 am

I LOVED that movie! So glad you are making this easy pasta! Come back and tell me how you like it!


Silvia October 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Recipe for 4 people – sorry for my english by google

Cut 2 o 3 cloves of garlic no 12 in small pieces;
Put them in a pan;
Add half a cup of extra virgin olive oil
After two minutes, add chilli
Bake until golden brown
Switch off fire
After cooking the pasta (al dente) put it in the pan
Council – always always always hold a espresso cup of pasta water to add to the pan (even more than a espresso cup if the sauce is dry)
mash up and cook for 2 or 3 minutes (“mantecare” in italian – is very important)
Add a bit of fresh parsley
serve at the table put parmigiano if you want
No lemon in ajo e ojo!
No lemon and Parmigiano!!!!

A bit versions of Ajo and Ojo (Aglio e Olio in Rome)

1) In a frying pan with the garlic add a little anchovy paste
2) After you put the garlic in the pan a bit of fresh tomato diced
3) Put the black olives and few capers with garlic and then add fresh tomatoes and cook 5 minutes (name: spaghetti alla puttanesca)
4) With garlic put tuna and cook for 5 minutes (pasta al tonno) and then put fresh tomato or lemon but no lemon + tomato always OR!
5) In the pan you can put anything you want and create new recipes – example put bacon and zucchini when the garlic is done and let cook (adding a little pasta water to cook the zucchini well)
6) Spaghetti with clams – too hard for my english!


Dorothy Reinhold October 16, 2014 at 9:20 am

Thanks for your recipes! DELICIOUS! I realize you object to lemon and Parmigiano in this dish, but this is the recipe demonstrated in the movie, and devised by the chef, so we are going to have to give him some leeway to play with it, OK?

Love all of your authentic variations on the theme! Thank you so much!


Silvia October 16, 2014 at 2:25 pm

ahahhhah ok ego te absolvo (joke)! Saturday I’m going to see this movie!!

Thanks for your reply. I read many of the recipes on your blog and are very good. Saturday, after having seen the film, I will prepare one of your recipes!


Dorothy Reinhold October 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

I would be HONORED if you made one of my recipes! Can’t wait to hear what you pick!


Jo Martin Stewart October 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm

What is the tool used to “stack” the pasta when serving this dish?


Dorothy Reinhold October 3, 2014 at 10:08 am

It’s been awhile since I saw the movie, but if memory services, he used chopsticks to sort of twist it into that great shape on the plate! Now I want to watch it again!


Renee Meissner April 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm

You can see the tongs he used in the picture above… the same tongs he used to toss the pasta in the garlic oil…. and I didn’t see any cheese added in the movie…. just red pepper flakes salt pepper and lemon juice.


John June 22, 2019 at 11:29 am

that is a carving fork 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold June 24, 2019 at 7:08 am

Right, but it works for him to plate his pasta in a pretty shape!


M Bengalstone August 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Don’t put lemon in algi’olio. It may have given the dish cimematic flare but I am guessing Scarlett was acting when she enjoyed the dish.


Dorothy Reinhold August 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Ha! Well, to each his or her own! I actually liked the spark from the lemon juice!


The Wimpy Vegetarian July 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm

It was so great to meet you this weekend! I enjoyed our conversations, and hope you have safe travels back home. Great movie, great recipe!!!


Dorothy Reinhold July 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

Thanks Susan! Right back atach. Adored meeting you in person!


Gina July 2, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Hmm, having been raised in an Italian household, this is what we had for a quick lunch after a long morning at swim practice! It is the earliest memory I have (and my kids, as well) of eating spaghetti noodles. 🙂 Still a comfort food after all these years!


Dorothy Reinhold July 3, 2014 at 11:21 am

I love your anecdote and memory!


Kirsten June 29, 2014 at 8:46 am

I’m sold, Dorothy–you make me want to 1) make this pasta and 2) watch this movie!


Dorothy Reinhold June 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

You MUST do both. The movie is non-negotiable.


Judy at Two Broads Abroad June 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Still haven’t seen the movies but I know what I’m having for dinner tonight.


Dorothy Reinhold June 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm

You HAVE to see the movie!


sue/the view from great island June 27, 2014 at 11:14 am

I LOVE your photos!


Dorothy Reinhold June 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I must confess those photos are from the film. Hope you try the recipe!


Karen June 27, 2014 at 9:50 am

Can’t wait to try this!


Dorothy Reinhold June 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm

It’s a classic!


Sally Newton June 27, 2014 at 7:35 am

I must go see this movie, I hope they show in our small town… but if not, Netflix at some point will come to the rescue…

this is one of my favorite pastas, at least it was – after getting married to Phil, who cannot quite have garlic without suffering a lot later, I abandoned it. sometimes I make it using lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and olive oil only. Not the same, but still very tasty…. 😉


Dorothy Reinhold June 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm

You MUST MUST see this movie! I am going to be all over it for repeated watchings once Netflix has it, too.


Dorothy Reinhold June 28, 2014 at 6:33 am

Me too!


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