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Angel Hair with Garlic and Lemon-Parmesan Breadcrumbs

Stephen and I are tired. Really tired. Almost all the time these days. He’s working on a ginormous job—it’s a wonderful thing, a prestigious project, a plum position to have on his resume—that keeps him at work until at least 7 every night. I’m working on, oh, eight or nine different writing projects, and when I’m not writing, I’m hanging with Harry. Who’s tiring in his own right; dude is a toddler, for sure. Our family dinners happen on weekends only now, and since Harry no longer naps I usually don’t have a chance to prep dinner until he’s in bed. I know, shocking! Here I am writing about how to get dinner on the table while you’ve got a youngun underfoot, and I’m not doing a very good job of it myself. My solution: Super-quick suppers.

Last night we had a sauté of zucchini, corn, and grape tomatoes, cooked just until the tomatoes burst, then showered with herbs. I started that one while Stephen read Harry his bedtime stories, and we ate about fifteen minutes after turning out junior’s lights. And the other night, after flirting with the idea of dumping some jarred sauce on pasta (hey, it’s in The New Mom’s Pantry for a reason!), I decided it was just as easy to make a fast garlic and oil sauce. Stephen 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).

This takes about as long as it takes to make angel hair pasta. You do know that angel hair is the fastest-cooking dried pasta, right? Yup, this is ready that fast.

Angel Hair with Garlic and Lemon-Parmesan Breadcrumbs
Serves 2

8 ounces angel hair pasta [I use Barilla Plus]
¼ cup olive oil, divided
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
3 large or 5 small cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. While that’s heating up, mince the garlic, zest the lemon, and chop the parsley.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of 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. Add the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon parsley, and salt & pepper, and cook for just another minute—you don’t want those crumbs to burn. Sprinkle the parmesan over the mixture, remove from heat, and stir. The cheese will melt a bit and form some clumps—this is perfectly fine and ridiculously tasty. Set breadcrumbs aside and wipe out the pan. Try not to eat them all while you do the next steps.

By now your water is probably boiling—if it is, add the pasta. If it isn’t, wait until the pasta’s bubbling away before proceeding. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat and add the remaining oil. When it shimmers, add the garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until lightly golden—you don’t want the garlic to burn. Scoop out about a cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. When pasta is ready, drain and return to pot. Dump the garlic and oil into the pot, along with the lemon juice. Stir—if it seems dry, add as much of the reserved cooking water as you need. The sauce will be quite light.

Serve in big bowls. Sprinkle half the breadcrumb mixture and half the reserved parsley over each bowl, and serve with additional parmesan cheese.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Peggy Bourjaily

    I recently discovered combining breadcrumbs with pasta is a wonderful thing! Can't wait to try your version. The pic is lovely too.

  2. Alexandra Grabbe

    Sounds like a great quick dinner for this hot, hot August day! Barilla angel hair pasta is my favorite. I like the idea of the lemon. I bought some shrimp at the fish market, so I think I'll just throw that in, too. Boy, I just made myself hungry!

  3. debbie koenig

    Peggy: I know, it is wonderful! My husband taught me that one–at first I thought it odd to add carbs to carbs, but the crunch is sooo nice.

    Alexandra: I don't eat shellfish (used to be kosher) but I can see shrimp fitting perfectly into this recipe. Let me know how it turns out.

  4. jennifer Margulis

    This looks yummy. I wonder if you've had any luck with whole wheat angel hair?

  5. debbie koenig

    Jennifer, I'm not a huge fan of whole wheat pasta in general–I find it too gummy and too strongly wheat-flavored. Angel Hair, being so thin, gets really mushy. Barilla Plus, OTOH, offers fiber, protein & omega 3s but still cooks up & tastes very much like regular pasta.

  6. Family Fitness Files

    Sounds great! I think I will make this next week. Always good to have some meatless options. Good for the budget, and handy during Lent, too. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Stephanie Stiavetti

    Looks great! I can never find gluten free angel hair pasta. I wonder if anyone makes it?

  8. kris bordessa

    sounds delish! I have some freshly picked lemons on my counter – this may be a perfect way to use one!

  9. debbie koenig

    Family Fitness: This is indeed an economical meal–it's a case of using high-quality ingredients, but just a little of each, for a really good result.

    Stephanie, I don't look for gluten-free especially, but I could swear I've seen some by DeBoles.

    And Kris, you're killing me with the just-picked lemons. Killing me, I say!

  10. Ellyn Canfield

    Just made this for the husband and got RAVE reviews. It was perfect, he was a little grumpy because we had seemingly zero food at home, but I managed to pull everything together for this- super easy and delish.

  11. GarlicBOSS

    like the ingredients

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