This is a more fancy version of an ancient, frugal dish from the southern part of Italy (once known as Magna Grecia) in which breadcrumbs took the place of parmesan cheese.
The original recipe required just three ingredients: spaghetti, olive oil and stale white breadcrumbs, plus salt and pepper, which made a very humble but satisfying dish.
Other ingredients, such as the chopped fresh herbs, were added along the way.
You might like to add a few anchovies, melted in the olive oil, or some flaked smoked salmon to the dish.
It's even better, fried in a little olive oil, the following day.
- Prep Time : 15 minutes
- Cook Time : 10 minutes
- Yield : 2 - 3
- spaghetti - 400g
- sourdough breadcrumbs, from 2-3 day old bread - 1 cup (60g)
- olive oil - 3 tablespoons
- garlic - 2 cloves, crushed
- chilli flakes - 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon
- mixed fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, sage, marjoram) - 1 1/2 cups, finely chopped
- green onions (shallots) - 2, finely sliced
- lemon - 1, juice and zest
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated parmesan - 4 tablespoons, or to taste
Heat half the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the breadcrumbs until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
Heat remaining oil in frying pan, add garlic and cook until soft and translucent. Remove from heat. Add the chilli flakes to warm through.
Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Toss through the garlic/chilli oil, the herbs, green onions, lemon juice and zest and reserved pasta water. Season to taste.
Serve sprinkled with the crisp breadcrumbs, freshly cracked black pepper and freshly grated parmesan.