When you don’t have a lot of fresh ingredients in the house, you can still create a beautiful pasta with a few simple ingredients from your pantry. This dish may only use a handful of ingredients, but it’s the type of pasta you find yourself craving thanks to its simple garlic-kissed pan sauce and oh-so-crispy breadcrumbs. This is the pasta I always turn to when I want something comforting and delicious but incredibly quick. And, believe me, it’s all of those things.
12 oz spaghetti
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh parsley, finely chopped, for serving (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti 2 minutes less than package directions call for. Reserve 1 1/4 cup pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot or high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer breadcrumbs to a bowl and set aside.
Wipe out pot and heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until starting to turn golden brown. Add chili flake, followed by 1 1/4 cups pasta water.
Add spaghetti to pot, followed by Parmesan, salt and pepper. Toss frequently until pasta is al dente and sauce has thickened, adding more pasta water as needed.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley, if using. Top with breadcrumbs and enjoy!
Note: If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can substitute 1 teaspoon garlic powder, added with chili flake.