Thursday, October 2, 2008

From the Pantry Dinner: Lemony Capellini Pasta with Bread Crumbs, Capers & Garlic

Am I the last foodie on the planet to discover the wonder and sheer perfection of toasted breadcrumbs as a pasta topping?!? I've seen it, read about it but it never had that much appeal for me until the other night. Searching through my cupboards for some kind of pasta topping that was not tomato or cream based but still possessing a high degree of the comfort factor, I came across a container or organic panko bread crumbs. Since they are so coarse and they stay so delightfully crispy, I thought they would be perfect on top of pasta. A few of my other favorite ingredients; lemon, capers, parsley, olive oil, garlic, black pepper and Pecorino-Romano cheese on top of the remains of a box of capellini pasta and about 10 minutes later, a delicious dinner.

Lemony Capellini Pasta with Bread Crumbs, Capers & Garlic
Serves 2

6 ounces of dried capellini or other long thin pasta
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
black pepper to taste
grated Pecorino-Romano cheese to garnish (or Parmesan or cheese of your choice)

Bring water to a boil, add salt and cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a small pan, add garlic and cook until garlic is a pale, golden color. Add capers, panko and parsley, cook, stirring frequently, until breadcrumbs are toasted and golden brown. Drain pasta well, squeeze the juice of one lemon over pasta and mix gently. Top with breadcrumb mixture, black pepper and grated Pecorino-Romano cheese.

Results: Heaven in a bowl! Simple, filling, comforting with great flavor and texture. The panko stays so crispy and light in the pasta. Putting the lemon on the drained pasta rather than into the breadcrumb mixture means it stays even crisper. The flavors of the ingredients really shine and it makes a quick weeknight meal that is elegant enough to serve to guests. You can substitute or switch around the ingredients--just do the breadcrumbs--you won't be sorry!
Of course you can make your own breadcrumbs too but the panko really works well in this dish.


  1. Deb, this sounds so wonderful! I have everything to make it too, including some capers I tried for the first time making Ina's panzanella, just waiting to be used up (I've been wondering what do to with them)! Thanks for what I'm sure will be a great recipe, can't wait to give it a try :)

  2. I've heard of putting it onto baked pasta, but never thought of putting bread crumbs onto pasta. Sounds delish!

  3. Andrea--great! I hope you like it as I really did!

    Kat--it is good--especially since they are so crispy, the texture is great.

  4. I absolutely love the breadcrumbs! My grandparents always make a dish around the holidays that has olive oil, anchovies and breadcrumbs tossed with spaghetti...this reminds me alot of it and it looks so delicious! I am going to try this for sure!

    (found your blog on Leftover Queen forum!)

  5. Sounds perfect - easy, quick and tasty! I'm going to try it!

  6. Ooh, we were on the same dinner wavelength last night! I have not tried breadcrumbs on pasta but have seen it on Food Network.
    Everything is better with bread, I will have to try this. :)

  7. I haven't done it in so long, I'd almost forgotten about it. This is my kind of dish-lemon, garlic and pasta. I'm squeezing this recipe in this week for sure.

  8. Aggie--thanks! Your grandparents dish sounds delicious!

    Natashya--sometimes a girl just has to have pasta!

    Zoomie & Prudy--hope you like it! I sure did!

  9. I've heard about the breadcrumb thing but never done it. Using panko is a great idea!


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