I've never really tried to make a super simple pasta but on the day that I did (with some help from Nigella recipes, yet again) I was pleasantly surprised. This is a snack rather than meal since the only substantial ingredient is the pasta and there's no real protein to beef it up a bit (pun not intended). Its rather like spaghetti vongole but without the clams - no need for such fancy things when making a snack. However, if you did have something like crab meat in the fridge, or if you're like me and love flavoured tinned tuna (yes, really) you could dress it up pretty easily.
What's in it
The basic ingredients are simple and might often be found lurking in your fridge and pantry:
- Pasta - I think this is the most delightful with spaghetti - don't ask me why, I just like it (of course you can use whatever you want)
- Stale bread (food process this into breadcrumbs), or ready made breadcrumbs
- Olive oil
- Lemon zest (more an optional than a must - good if you have a real lemon handy)
- Lemon juice (from the real lemon if you have one, else from the bottle does just as well)
- Garlic (mine is minced and from the jar, but if you have the time you might want to crush your own)
- Chilli flakes (or powder, or fresh chilli, or whatever). Of course this is optional
- Chopped parsley (to balance out the garlic)
That's it! Tastes awesome when you're hungry and takes 15min to make and 2min to eat.
How to make
- Cook spaghetti: put paste in a pan of salted boiling water (will take too long to cook if not boiling plus it'll all stick together). Check on the packet how long to cook for - usually 8-10min minutes, but keep checking until its just the texture you like it.
- Make sauce: while the pasta is boiling, heat up a frying pan to medium heat and put in a glug of olive oil.
- Add the garlic and fry till fragrant (maybe a minute or two).
- Add the breadcrumbs and lemon zest and cook until breadcrumbs are golden, should take a minute at best. Note - watch the heat on the frying pan, don't have hit too hot or everything will burn. Keep everything moving with your spatula.
- Add chilli flakes (optional).
- Scoop out a cup or two of pasta water from the pot (save this), then tip the pasta into a colander to drain it.
- Put pasta back into the pot and throw in contents of the frying pan, the chopped parsley, and a couple of splashes of lemon juice.
- Toss it all together. If its looking & feeling a bit too dry, add some lemon juice or the pasta water to loosen it up a bit.
- Season generously with salt and pepper before eating
That's it really and I promise it'll satisfy any carb / pasta cravings you might have! Do you have any super quick cooked snacks you love to eat? I'm all ears if you do.
Till next time, happy eating!