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Spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs recipe at lynnecurry.com.

Dinner 911: Spaghetti with Garlic Breadcrumbs & Easy Add-ins

Summer went out like someone turning off the lights. Not the weather, which is all blue sky and sunshine still, but the structure of our days.

Suddenly, I’m just trying to keep on top of everyone’s activities and meeting schedules, upcoming trips and homework! We’re all just doing our best while still eating well.

That means I’m turning to pasta more than ever. With tomatoes in season, it’s easier than ever to turn on the burner and make a quick pasta skillet supper.

Basic Skillet Pasta Supper

This is a recipe I’ve loved forever, a simple Italian recipe for spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs {pangratto}.

I learned to make it from my mentor, Victoria Flynn at the Willow’s Inn. It wasn’t for the guests, but one of the lunches Victoria made for the kitchen crew on prep days.

Spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs recipe at lynnecurry.com.

It’s five ingredients, it and takes only as long as a pot of water comes to a boil and cook the spaghetti al dente. No cheese needed, so it’s dairy-free and vegan.

While the spaghetti boils, you infuse olive oil with garlic. And with the season’s first garlic at the farmers’ market, it’s the best right now. Then, you toast a healthy cupful of breadcrumbs in the oil until crispy.

When the pasta is done and drained, you toss it into the garlicky toasted breadcrumbs and prepare to eat.

Toasted Breadcrumbs or Pangratto

A lot of recipes call for fresh breadcrumbs. And while it’s no big deal to whir up some day-old bread we all have on hand in a food processor, it’s often one more step than I can handle on a weeknight.

So, instead I grabbed a box on panko. If you’re not already a fan of panko for everything from chicken fingers to tonkatsu {pork cutlets}, it’s time to stock your pantry with the crispiest breadcrumbs around.

Toasting the breadcrumbs until they are golden brown is the key to this recipe. So, it requires your undivided attention for the four-odd minutes required.

When my daughter tasted this spaghetti, she said, “It tastes like garlic bread.” Who doesn’t love that?

Deluxe Skillet Pasta Supper

You can take this minimalist spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs a step further if you’re inclined. Here are some of the add-ins that only heighten this pasta dish with dimensions of flavor:

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh herbs, such as chopped basil, parsley, oregano or marjoram
  • 1/2 cup grated hard cheese, such as grated parmesan, pecorino or asiago
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped olives, such as calvestrano
  • 1-2 anchovy fillets, mashed
  • zest of 1 whole lemon
  • a crispy fried egg for each serving
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli florets
  • 1-2 cups sauteed chard, spinach or kale
  • 1-2 cups confit cherry tomatoes

I went with the confit cherry tomatoes because I just made a batch this weekend.

Spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs recipe at lynnecurry.com.

Either plain or with an embellishment, you cannot go wrong with this spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs when it feels like there’s no time to cook.

This is a recipe for all year round, so keep it on hand when you’re about to call for pizza. It’s a life saver, but one you can even enjoy on a weekend evening when you’re more relaxed.

{This is a dinner I want to eat in front of the television with a glass of wine. Who’s with me?}

Yes, it’s the season for comfort foods. Enjoy it!

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Spaghetti with Garlic Breadcrumbs

This is a dinner you can conjure from your pantry and the stale bread is your breadbox or panko boxed breadcrumbs. Feel free to use whole wheat spaghetti. You can embellish it in dozens of ways (a great way to use up leftovers.) It's also terrific on its own and is the best type of comfort food--easy and delicious.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword spaghetti
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs or panko
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti gluten free
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • pinch red pepper flakes optional

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Have a small strainer set over a heatproof measuring cup l on hand.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan set over medium heat. Cook the garlic until it sizzles and it turns straw colored, about 2 minutes. Strain the oil into the measuring cup and set the garlic aside.

  3. Return the pan to the heat and add 1/4 cup of the garlic-infused oil and the breadcrumbs. Season with the salt and pepper. Stir frequently and shake the pan to toast the breadcrumbs evenly until they are golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl, scraping the pan out well.

  4. Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta well. 

  5. Heat the remaining oil and reserved garlic in the skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pasta and toss well, using enough of the pasta water to make it slick. Add about 3/4 of the breadcrumbs and toss well with the dried herbs and red pepper flakes, if using. Serve portions sprinkled with the additional breadcrumbs.

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