Angel Hair with Garlic and Lemon-Parmesan Breadcrumbs
This easy, satisfying, and super-fast dish was born out of exhaustion. One night, after flirting with the idea of serving jarred sauce on pasta, I decided it was just as easy to make a quick garlic and oil sauce. My husband suggested some toasted breadcrumbs for contrast, and I was off and running. A little lemon, a little Parmesan, some parsley, and whaddya know? It's a fantastic little dinner! The brightness of the lemon makes this more than just a bowl of pasta and garlic (which I admit is, in itself, quite a satisfying meal).
While you're waiting for the water to boil, mince the garlic, zest the lemon, and chop the parsley; by the time that quick-cooking angel hair is ready, the sauce will be, too.
- 1/3 Cup olive oil
- 1/3 Cup dried breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
- 3 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 Cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 12-14 1/2 Ounces whole-grain angel hair
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain, and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat about half of the olive oil over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs are the color of wet sand, 3-4 minutes.
Add the lemon zest and half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for just 1 more minute (you don’t want those crumbs to get too dark). Sprinkle the Parmesan over the mixture, remove from the heat, and stir. (The cheese will melt a bit and form some clumps; this is perfectly fine and ridiculously tasty.) Set the breadcrumbs aside and wipe out the pan.
Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat and add the remaining oil. When it shimmers, add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until barely golden, then remove from the heat.
Scoop out about a cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. When the pasta is ready, drain and return to the pot over a low flame. Return the pasta to the pot over low heat and add the garlic-oil mixture and lemon juice. Stir, and if it seems dry, add as much of the reserved cooking water as you need. (The sauce will thicken slightly but remain quite light.)
Plate in big bowls. Sprinkle some of the breadcrumb mixture and some of the reserved parsley over each bowl, and serve with the additional grated Parmesan.