Quick Pantry-friendly Spaghetti
I felt like experimenting in the kitchen and I was inspired by a surplus of breadcrumbs Mollie had left over from making a tuna casserole. I vaguely remembered a Giada De Laurentiis episode of Everyday Italian I watched at least a dozen years ago in which she blew my mind by making a pasta dish that made olive oil toasted breadcrumbs the star of the show. This briny, olive oil-based, carb-on-carb recipe is based on my rough recollection of Giada’s recipe. This is in no way authentic, but it was weeknight-quick, simple (mostly comprised of things you could have in your pantry and fridge), and the kids gave their thumbs up. I also put an egg on top to add some yolky goodness, because it makes everything better!
- 1lb spaghetti
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2/3 cup pitted black olives, drained and roughly chopped
- 2/3 cup pitted green olives, drained and roughly chopped
- 2/3 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- eggs for as many people who will be eating
Step 1: Boiling and toasting
Bring a large pot of water to a boil on high while you heat a large pan on medium. Add a Tbsp of oil and a few pinches of salt to the water when it reaches a boil, then drop in the spaghetti. The rest of the recipe happens during the 9 mins or so it takes to boil the pasta according to the box directions for firm or al dente, depending on your preference. After dropping the pasta, dump the bread crumbs into the pan and, stirring frequently, toast until golden, about 4 mins.
Step 2: Sizzle time
Remove the toasted bread crumbs from the pan and set aside. Turn up the heat for the pan to med-high and pour in the olive oil. After a min, add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes to the heated oil and swirl around until very fragrant, about 30 secs. Add the chopped roasted red peppers, olives, and some black pepper to the pan and toss to combine with the garlic for 1 min. Note that with all that briny flavor from olives, no other salt aside from the pasta water and cheese at the end is needed for this recipe.
Step 3: Finishing the bread crumb mixture
Reduce the heat for the pan to medium and add the breadcrumbs to the olive mixture, stirring to combine for a min or two. At this point, the pasta should be almost done, so reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water while you wait for the pasta to finish cooking.
Step 4: Assemble!
When the pasta is done, drain and combine with the bread crumb/olive mixture. Add the parmesan and parsley, reserving a bit of both for garnishing later. Toss everything together, adding as much pasta water as you like a little at a time to loosen everything up to your desired consistency.
Step 5: Put an egg on it!
Heat a pan on med-high heat while you plate out your portions, drizzling with a little extra oil and sprinkling with the reserved cheese. At this point, your pan should be nice and hot, so quickly fry as many eggs as you need for each person. Top each plate with an egg and sprinkle with black pepper and the reserved parsley, then another final drizzle of olive oil just because.
There you have it–a quick weeknight meal made from mostly pantry/fridge staples that looks much fancier that it really is. Those many, many hours of Food Network I soaked up a decade ago through osmosis are starting to pay off!