I believe there are two types of pasta sauce people: those who gravitate toward tomato-based sauces, and those who fiend for butter and dairy. You may spike your sauce with something special, be it some chili flakes in arrabiata, olives in puttanesca, or pancetta in carbonara, but if you are a serious carb-loader, I'm pretty sure that you'll fall into one of the two camps. As surely as I am left-handed, I belong to Team Dairy. This affiliation can often be inconvenent in light of my lactose intolerance, but as easy as it was to give up ice cream, it has been impossible to say goodbye to cheese. Some nights when I am eating alone, I will boil up some spaghetti, sizzle a few fresh sage leaves in butter and olive oil, and toss it all together with Parmesan. If I'm feeling particularly daring, I'll fry up an egg to give my pasta a happy little party hat. But I've been looking for a new recipe to turn that quick weeknight staple into an elegant meal for two.
Recently, I uncovered this gem on Food52, a recipe site with a collection of truly amazing user-submitted, editor-curated recipes. Not only does this one contain the holy trinity of butter, cheese, and yolky eggs, it's topped with a lemony rosemary-breadcrumb crunch and a sprinkle of capers to make you pucker. I've upped Rhonda's recipe to feed four (or, in this household, two), but it's also easy enough to make on my nights alone!
Hint: Rhonda suggests making a lot of pangritata ahead of time and freezing, which is an excellent idea. I am never quite that prepared, but I did take a couple loaves of nearly stale bread, ground them into breadcrumbs, dried them in the oven, and then packaged them up into 1 c. servings before putting them in the freezer. That cuts out one big step for this recipe (plus, I have plenty of mac and cheese topping or a healthy, crunchy coating for oven-baked chicken).
- 1/3 c. + 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 c. breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- Zest from one lemon
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 eggs
- 1/3 c. Italian parsley, minced
- 2 tbsp. capers
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 c. grated Pecorino Romano
- Heat 1/3 c. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and saute until golden and crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rosemary, remove from heat. When cooled, mix in the lemon zest.
- Bring a salted pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta until just under al dente. Drain the pasta, and pour it back in the pot, reserving 1 c. of the cooking liquid.
- Wipe out the skillet from the pangritata, and add the butter and remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and immediately break the eggs into the skillet. Lower the heat, and cook the eggs until the whites are set but yolks are runny. Be careful not to burn the garlic (lower the heat more if necessary).
- Pour the eggs and all fats from the skillet over the pasta, add parsley and capers, and toss, breaking up the eggs as you do. Add pasta cooking liquid, a little bit at a time, to evenly coat the spaghetti. Season well with ground pepper.
- Distribute the pasta and eggs among plates, then top with grated cheese and pangritata.
Adapted from Food52