This simple pasta dish will quickly become a new favorite with your family. Tender al dente spaghetti noodles are coated in creamy goat cheese infused with bright lemon juice and zest. Then rustic pangrattato (bread crumbs) are toasted in melted butter with garlic and herbs and sprinkled over the pasta. Serve this pasta as a main dish with a side of crusty bread or as a side dish to grilled chicken or fish.
While I love fancy gourmet foods with wild ingredients and involved cooking processes, once in a while, it’s nice to get back to the basics. Today I’m sharing one of my favorite simple pasta dishes—lemony goat cheese spaghetti with pangrattato.
Hey, stop rolling your eyes. I know what you’re thinking. There goes Lauren being all fancy again. Pangrattato may sound fancy and exotic, but it couldn’t be more basic. Pangrattato simply translates to bread crumbs in Italian. See? Not fancy. In fact, for centuries, pangrattato has been referred to as “poor man’s parmesan cheese”. Don’t let these budget-friendly crumbs fool you though. These are not your average bread crumbs. Usually toasted in olive oil with garlic, herbs, and spices, these little morsels are jammed packed with flavor.
The magic of pangrattato happens while it toasts. The olive oil gets infused with whatever herbs and spices you’re using and then gets soaked up into the bread crumbs. It only takes a few minutes to toast the crumbs over medium heat. You know they’re ready once they’re golden brown and super fragrant. Beyond flavor, pangrattato also gives any dish you top it with great color, texture and crunch. These little crumbs are truly a great way to elevate even the most basic pasta dish.
Speaking of basic pasta dishes, the one I’m sharing today is the perfect candidate for a little pangrattato. Cooked al dente spaghetti gets coated in a luscious lemony goat cheese sauce and fresh parsley. For an added kick, I like to also include some crushed red pepper flakes too. I make this dish a lot for a quick lunch but I’ll also serve it for dinner often too. It’s great on its own with some crusty bread or served with grilled chicken or salmon.
To prepare this lemony goat cheese spaghetti with pangrattato, begin by cooking a pound of spaghetti according to the package directions. Then, before draining, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. I repeat, save some of the pasta water. Am I the only one who has found themselves sobbing uncontrollably over their kitchen sink after realizing they forgot to save a bit of pasta water? It’s always so frustrating when it happens! Don’t let yourself become me—remember to save the pasta water.
Next, return the drained pasta to the cooking pot and add crumbled goat cheese, lemon juice, zest and, crushed red pepper flakes. The heat of the pasta will begin to melt the goat cheese and coat the noodles. Once the goat cheese is almost melted, begin to add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water to the pot. As you stir, the sauce will begin to emulsify and get super creamy. Keep adding the hot pasta water to the pot, gradually, until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. It should resemble an alfredo sauce. Finally, toss in a little fresh chopped parsley and then transfer to a platter to serve.
To finish off the pasta, sprinkle a generous amount of the toasted pangrattato bread crumbs over everything. I also like to squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the top too. This creamy pasta may only contain a few ingredients but it’s delicious. To me, it’s the perfect summertime comfort food. You have the bright flavors of the herbs and lemon married with rich, creamy goat cheese. Perfection!
Let me know what you think about this lemony goat cheese spaghetti with pangrattato by giving the recipe a rating and leaving me a comment below. Also, if you make this dish, don’t forget to tag me on social media. It’s @frydaeblog and #frydaeblog absolutely everywhere. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy. Happy Frydae!
Lemony Goat Cheese Spaghetti with Pangrattato
- 1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (+/-) pasta water
- 1 tablespoons parsley, fresh, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon sage, dried
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon basil, julienne, for garnish
- salt + pepper, to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Then cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package direction. While the pasta cooks, in a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add garlic and let cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and then add the breadcrumbs and dried sage. Stir to moisten the crumbs and then continue to stir the crumbs over medium heat until toasted. Once the crumbs have turned a deep golden color, remove from heat and then season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.Once cooked, reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then drain the remaining water from the pasta. Next, add the crumbled goat cheese to the warm pasta noodles along with the lemon juice, lemon zest, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir until the butter and goat cheese is nearly melted. Now, gradually add the reserved pasta water, a few tablespoons at a time, to loosen the pasta sauce. Continue to add until a creamy sauce forms and all of the spaghetti is coated. Stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped, fresh parsley and then transfer the pasta to a serving bowl platter. Finally, sprinkle the toasted pangrattato (breadcrumbs) over the hot pasta and garnish with ribbons of fresh basil leaves.
Serve warm and enjoy.