This pasta was inspired by a mix of flavours and regions of Italy. When I think of chilli and lemons I think of the south of Italy. Chilli is used extensively in the region of Calabria – you would have heard of the famous ‘nduja – a spicy spreadable pork salumi. This recipe doesn’t contain ‘nduja – firstly because it’s hard to find a good one in Australia and secondly because this dish is made of much simpler flavours – lemon, garlic, chilli and breadcrumbs.
Not surprisingly, this dish is a very humble one – breadcrumbs were commonly thought of as the “parmesan of the poor” and the other ingredients are pretty much pantry staples.
I love the creaminess of this dish – it may not seem (because of the bread crumbs) but the addition of the lemon juice and pasta water at the end of cooking gives the pasta a sort of “glow”, it binds all the flavours together creating a silky, smooth sauce.
I used Pasta Garofalo‘s vermicelli for this recipe, but they have to be the Italian kind. If you can’t find vermicelli, another type of spaghetti will do. I used an organic lemon because of the addition of the zest and Australian garlic – because the flavour is so much juicier – I find asian garlic often tastes plasticky. I also recommend using home-made bread crumbs (from stale bread) but store bought will also do, just make sure they aren’t the “panko” kind.
- 200g of vermicelli (Pasta Garofalo)
- 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 50g of bread crumbs
- ¼ tsp of dried chilli
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp of parsley
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of salt and once boiling add the pasta and cook for 11 minutes. Before draining the pasta reserving a full cup of the cooking water.
- Heat 2 tbsp of evo oil in a large frying pan on low heat and add the grated lemon zest. Then add the bread crumbs and toast on low heat. Once browned, transfer to a separate bowl.
- Once drained, return the pasta to the saucepan, add 2 tbsp of evo oil and ¾ of the lemon juice. Mix the oil and juice through the pasta.
- Add the dried chilli and grate in the garlic clove, continuously mixing through.
- Add a few tbsp of pasta water at a time to help it come together.
- Mix through the parsley and breadcrumbs.
- Serve with a dash of extra lemon juice and sprinkle of bread crumbs.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pasta Garofalo, however all opinions are my own.