Easiest Pasta Ever

Veggie Chick has been raving about Mark Bittman for ages; going on and on about how good his cookbook is. She interviewed him on his adventures on the travel and food show Spain- On The Road Again, but was a fan way before that. Bittman’s book How To Cook Everything Vegetarian is one of Veggie Chick’s favourite.

She recently brought a pasta dish she made to office, and I had a bite. The pasta looked simple and plain – just strands of noodles with brown bits on them – but the flavours were so awesome. And that was eating them cold and dried up.

The dish is simply called pasta with garlic and breadcrumbs, and that really is all there is.

breadcrumbs and garlic pasta

When I asked her for the recipe, she said there is none. Instead, she gave me these instructions via sms

Heat olive oil in skillet. Add minced garlic and breadcrumbs. Cook till golden. Toss in cooked pasta. Add chilli flakes and parsley if you wished.

The instructions were good enough… I managed to make the pasta. You need to be generous with the extra virgin oil though, or the pasta will be too dry.

If you want more detailed instructions, here is the recipe for Linguine With Garlic and Oil from Mark Bittman’s book How To Cook Everything – just scroll down for the variation of this recipe using breadcrumbs.

The best thing about this recipe is that there is no need to even go shopping – most people have bread, garlic, pasta and olive oil in their cupboards. There is also no need for cheese, so that’s cost saving too.

The most work in cooking this pasta was making the breadcrumbs, but that too merely involves toasting a few slices of bread till they are dry and then putting them in an electric mill.

It’s so easy, and rewarding. But absolutely not for those who doesn’t like garlic. This is a full-on garlicky blast.

But if you are not averse to garlic, try this recipe.


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 or 2 small dried red chiles, or to taste, or hot red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

1 pound long, thin pasta, like linguine or spaghetti, or any other pasta

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the oil, garlic, the chiles if you’re using them, and a pinch of salt in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Let the garlic sizzle a bit, shaking the pan occasionally, just until it turns golden, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat if the pasta isn’t ready.

2. Cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy. When it is done, drain it, reserving a bit of the cooking water. Reheat the garlic and oil mixture briefly if necessary. Dress the pasta with the sauce, adding a little more oil or some of the cooking water if it seems dry. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then toss with the parsley if you’re using it.

Linguine with Garlic, Oil, and Anchovies.

In Step 1, add 4 to 6 anchovy fillets (with their oil, if any; rinsed and picked over if salted) to the oil along with the garlic; mash the anchovies until they break down and virtually dissolve into the oil. Linguine with Garlic, Oil, and Fresh Herbs. When the garlic is done, toss in a mixture of 1 cup or more fresh herbs, whatever you have on hand; try, for example, 1/4 cup minced parsley leaves; 1/4 cup minced basil or chervil leaves; 1 sprig tarragon, minced; several sprigs of dill, minced; a sprig or two of thyme, leaves stripped from the stem and minced; and 1 tablespoon or more of minced chives (this is merely a suggestion; substitute freely). The mixture will absorb all the oil, so, in Step 3, when you toss it with the pasta, be sure to add more oil or some of the pasta-cooking water. Garnish with more chopped herbs.

Linguine with Garlic, Oil, and Bread Crumbs.

Use a large skillet over medium heat and start by putting in only the oil. When hot, add 1/2 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon. Add a little more oil, turn the heat down to medium-low, and stir in the chiles if you’re using them, the garlic, and a large pinch of salt. Proceed with the recipe, stirring in the crunchy bread crumbs as a garnish at the last moment.


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2 Responses to “Easiest Pasta Ever”

  1. sandra Says:

    I didn’t know you blogged >) ehehe, gonna link you. Better cook for us BRATs one day k! 🙂 We can help out if you want nyehee.

  2. zurin Says:

    that sounds too simple to be true!! I will have to try this for sure. So cost saving, ridiculously easy and tasty. Wow..TQ :))

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