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Spaghetti With Lemon, Garlic and Breadcrumbs

by . Featured in NIGELLISSIMA
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Introduction

I always relish an opportunity to use up ingredients that are past their best. The thing to do is make breadcrumbs with stale bread whenever it's to hand. Stash the breadcrumbs in airtight bags in the deep freeze and use whenever needed, without thawing first. I am not totally old-school, though: I don't grate my stale bread to make breadcrumbs, but blitz it in the food processor. As a final note on the breadcrumbs, may I suggest you measure in volume not weight? Every batch of breadcrumbs seems to differ in density so much that when I cook with them I go by cup measures, but I have given the weight as well for those who feel reassured by that. How much or little you use here doesn't matter enormously, though. It's just not that kind of recipe.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I always relish an opportunity to use up ingredients that are past their best. The thing to do is make breadcrumbs with stale bread whenever it's to hand. Stash the breadcrumbs in airtight bags in the deep freeze and use whenever needed, without thawing first. I am not totally old-school, though: I don't grate my stale bread to make breadcrumbs, but blitz it in the food processor. As a final note on the breadcrumbs, may I suggest you measure in volume not weight? Every batch of breadcrumbs seems to differ in density so much that when I cook with them I go by cup measures, but I have given the weight as well for those who feel reassured by that. How much or little you use here doesn't matter enormously, though. It's just not that kind of recipe.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Spaghetti with Breadcrumbs
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 2

Metric Cups
  • 200 grams spaghetti or spaghettini
  • salt for pasta water plus 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon regular olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • approx. 50 grams - ½ cup - breadcrumbs
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 small bunch fresh flatleaf parsley (chopped)
  • 7 ounces spaghetti or spaghettini
  • salt for pasta water plus 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon regular olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • ½ cup - approx. 50 grams - breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 small bunch fresh italian parsley (chopped)

Method

  1. Bring water to the boil for your pasta, salting generously when it starts bubbling. Add the pasta, stir with a pasta fork or your equivalent and let the pasta cook according to packet instructions, tasting a couple of minutes before it's meant to be ready.
  2. Warm the 1 tablespoon regular olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the lemon zest; it will sizzle fragrantly. Now add the breadcrumbs and toast by stirring them in the warm pan until they turn a deep gold. Remove immediately to a cold dish.
  3. Important step: before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of the starchy water. I often mention it, nearly always in fact, but here it is crucial.
  4. Tip the drained pasta back into its own cooking pan, then add the extra-virgin olive oil and half the lemon juice and toss to combine in the hot pan until a lot of the liquid is absorbed. Add the dried chilli flakes and salt (to taste) and grate in (or mince and add) the garlic, and toss again, adding some pasta-cooking liquid to help it amalgamate into a sparse but gleaming sauce. Season to taste and to check whether you want to add the remaining lemon juice.
  5. Mix the chopped parsley into the toasted breadcrumbs and add most of the breadcrumb-parsley mix to the pasta, tossing well.
  6. Divide between 2 warmed bowls and sprinkle the remaining lemony, parsley-flecked breadcrumbs over each.
  1. Bring water to the boil for your pasta, salting generously when it starts bubbling. Add the pasta, stir with a pasta fork or your equivalent and let the pasta cook according to packet instructions, tasting a couple of minutes before it's meant to be ready.
  2. Warm the 1 tablespoon regular olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the lemon zest; it will sizzle fragrantly. Now add the breadcrumbs and toast by stirring them in the warm pan until they turn a deep gold. Remove immediately to a cold dish.
  3. Important step: before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of the starchy water. I often mention it, nearly always in fact, but here it is crucial.
  4. Tip the drained pasta back into its own cooking pan, then add the extra-virgin olive oil and half the lemon juice and toss to combine in the hot pan until a lot of the liquid is absorbed. Add the red pepper flakes and salt (to taste) and grate in (or mince and add) the garlic, and toss again, adding some pasta-cooking liquid to help it amalgamate into a sparse but gleaming sauce. Season to taste and to check whether you want to add the remaining lemon juice.
  5. Mix the chopped parsley into the toasted breadcrumbs and add most of the breadcrumb-parsley mix to the pasta, tossing well.
  6. Divide between 2 warmed bowls and sprinkle the remaining lemony, parsley-flecked breadcrumbs over each.

Tell us what you think

What 5 Others have said

  • Awesome dish! So much better than regular spaghetti with butter and parmesan cheese. Will make again and again. Thank you!

    Posted by mbsaas on 26th January 2021
  • Nice dish. Fast and easy when you are too tired to cook. Nice use of mostly pantry staples. I added capers for a nice pop of briny goodness

    Posted by Momcatp on 8th January 2021
  • Superdelicious!

    Posted by ranocchiettaromana on 5th October 2020
  • This makes into a full meal with the addition of some capers and a nicely fried egg (or two). My comfort food go-to.

    Posted by OldGrayMare on 5th October 2020
  • Absolutely delicious. I added a pinch of turmeric to my pasta water and hey presto lemon coloured pasta!

    Posted by Kathryn Payandeh on 24th April 2020
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