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