Spaghetti With Garlic, Chilies, Lemon & Crispy Bread Crumbs

This is one of those quick pasta dishes that can be thrown together in mere minutes, yet is so tasty, it will become a family favorite. I love the combination of garlic, red chilies, fresh parsley, and lemon; while the crunch of the bread crumbs offers a nice contrast with each bite. To me this is comfort food, and often our choice after a very busy day when we have a limited amount of time to prepare dinner. Adjust the amount of chilies to your own taste, or eliminate them altogether if you prefer. The amount indicated in the recipe is just a suggestion. Generally, you don’t offer cheese to top any pasta with hot spices in it, as the cheese would diffuse the heat of the sauce, but I do like a bit of grated Parmesan cheese on this dish.

Homemade bread crumbs are a must for this dish. To prepare them, I put cubes of stale country style crusty bread into the food processor and pulse until they reach the desired consistency. The crumbs should be coarse and not finely ground.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Spaghetti With Garlic, Chilies, Lemon & Crispy Bread Crumbs

A “cucina povera“, or country peasant dish that can be prepared for mere pennies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Coarse Homemade Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Pound Spaghetti
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 Large Cloves Of Garlic, Minced
  • Juice Of 1 Lemon
  • 2 to 3 Dry Hot Red Chili Peppers, Crushed
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley

Directions:

  1. In a heavy frying pan, heat the oil and add the bread crumbs, lemon zest, salt & pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring often until the crumbs are crisp and light brown, then set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water.
  3. While it is cooking, heat the oil in a small, heavy saucepan, then add the garlic and chili peppers and cook until sizzling but not browned.
  4. Remove from the heat.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, remove a small cup of pasta water, and drain the pasta.
  6. Return to the pot, and add the garlic oil, and lemon juice.
  7. Mix well over medium heat until hot, adding a little pasta water if the mixture seems dry.
  8. Add the parsley, mix well and serve with the crispy bread crumbs on top.