spaghetti pangrattato with fried eggs Recipes

spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs

Several years ago, because we didn’t have a kid yet, didn’t know about things like school break schedules and figured midway through February was as good of a time to escape the snow as any, we decided to get away to someplace warm and winter-free during Presidents’ Day week. We found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a beach resort that had to have easily been 75% children, and the kind that were at that time my worst nightmare of what kids could be [insert yours here, then multiply it as far as you can see] and we decided to both never have kids and never ever go away on Presidents’ Week again.

what you'll need, pecorino optional
pecorino, pangrattato, capers, parsley

Flash forward seven or so years and last week we went to probably one of the most kid-centric, kid-mobbed resorts* one can go to on the most kid-centric and kid-mobbed week of the year and it was the best thing, ever. Previous to last week, I wouldn’t say we’ve exactly mastered the art of family vacations. Sure, we always have fun together but it often either feels like we’re either someplace exciting for adults but less so for little kid, or someplace awesome for a little kid but it feels more like this for the adults. This may not be for everyone, but at least for now, the resolution turned out to be a place where us grownups could lay on the beach, reading books, napping, and being total slackers for most of the day while the kid attended a day camp with everything from pony rides to water slides, trapeze school and circus training and also a pirate-themed treasure hunt for … underwear which if you’ve ever been around 4 and 5 year-olds, know was the greatest. We’d retrieve our kid, sticky with ice cream, chocolate pastries and sugar cereals from his mid-afternoon goûter and then play on the beach or in the pool for a couple hours before dinner, stories, bed and everybody won. Everyone had an awesome vacation. Thank goodness we’re not doing anything in the coming months that would upset the chances of repeating this bliss next year!

spaghetti time

making a crispy egg

Alas, the fridge didn’t fill itself while we were away (technology, can you get on that?) and we pretty much had a family lazy-off yesterday, in which we tried to see how long we could go on pre-vacation remains before one of us caved and went to the store. It turned out — you know, along with some Sunday night soup dumplings — all day, if you can scrounge a few staples together. Before vacation, when I was deep in my 2nd Trimester Carb Immersion Plan, I fell in love on sight alone with a dish called Rhonda’s Spaghetti with Fried Eggs with Pangritata for One on Food52. I mean, how could I not, as it basically contained all of my trigger foods: pasta, bread and my ongoing obsession that I find as many excuses as I can to work into dishes, the crispy egg.


Pangrattato translates from Italian as grated bread, referring to breadcrumbs themselves, but in dishes, it’s often known to as the poor man’s Parmesan because when you take that stale bread and lightly toast in in olive oil, herbs and seasonings — anything from just salt and pepper to garlic and anchovies, lemon zest and capers or olives — it adds remarkable texture and complex flavor to pasta without the expense of Parmesan. These crumbs it would be equally welcome to as a topping for canned fish, steamed mussels, warm vegetable salads, sautéed greens, or even on eggs without the pasta. We loved the crunch throughout our tangles of al dente lunchtime spaghetti, and the fried egg broken up on top, a nod to Rhonda’s version, adds a gorgeous richness that, well… I’ll be repeating in about one hour.

spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs

* as always on this site, this is not a sponsored or paid post, vacation, opinion, etc. all costs of vacation absorbed by author, with a grimace

One year ago: Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew
Two years ago: French Onion Tart
Three years ago: Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Four years ago: Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil
Five years ago: Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze and Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
Six years ago: Red Kidney Bean Curry and Thick Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Seven years ago: Pear and Almond Tart
Eight years ago: Vegetable Dumplings

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Strawberries and Cream with Graham Crumbles
1.5 Years Ago: Almond-Crisped Peaches
2.5 Years Ago: Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes
3.5 Years Ago: Zucchini Fritters

Spaghetti Pangrattato with Crispy Eggs
Adapted from and inspired by Rhonda’s Spaghetti with Fried Eggs with Pangritata for One on Food52

This is a big green salad and maybe a few slices of proscuitto (if you’re into such things) away from being a perfect mid-winter weeknight meal, budget-friendly, quick to make, vegetarian and, with luck, from ingredients you already have around. And if you don’t, nobody is going to know if you skip the parsley or try sage or thyme instead of rosemary. There is no one correct way to make pangrattato, only the way you like it. I couldn’t resist adding a little Pecorino here anyway, but you’d be fine without it if you’d like to keep the dish dairy-free.

Serves 2, in generous heaps, or 3, petitely

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh or stale coarse plain breadcrumbs (panko worked great here)
Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
Few fine gratings fresh lemon zest

Crispy Egg
1 glug of olive oil per egg
3 eggs
Salt and pepper

Pasta and Assembly
8 ounces dried spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons small capers, drained (rinsed if salted), chopped
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)

Make crispy crumbs (pangrattato): Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and let sizzle for barely a minute, just until it begins to turn a pale golden color. Add breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, rosemary and lemon zest and reduce heat to low, cooking mixture slowly until all of the crumbs are an even golden color, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Cook pasta: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a generous boil and cook pasta until al dente about 1 to 2 minutes shy of package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water before draining pasta.

Meanwhile, make crispy eggs: Wipe out breadcrumbs skillet. Return to stove over high heat and add a generous glug of olive oil per egg. Once hot enough that the oil begins to smoke, add egg(s). They’re going to hiss and splatter so step back as soon as you do. Spoon some of the cooking oil over the eggs, carefully. Season with salt and pepper. In 1 to 2 minutes, the egg(s) will be brown and very crisp underneath and around the edges. Shimmy a thin spatula underneath the egg(s) (a flexible fish spatula works great here), being careful not to break the yolk. If you’re cooking for someone who shouldn’t be eating runny yolks (ahem), you can flip the egg over and cook it for another 30 seconds or so before removing it. Transfer cooked egg(s) to paper towels to drain.

Assemble dish: Once pasta is drained, return it to the empty pot or a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a splash or two (or all, if needed to loosen pasta) of reserved cooking water. Over high heat, toss with capers and parsley for 1 minute. Divide among bowls or plates. Sprinkle with Pecorino, if using, then 1/3 of breadcrumb (pangrattato) mixture. Place an egg over each dish, and break up with a fork. Eat immediately.

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169 comments on spaghetti pangrattato with crispy eggs

  1. Oh, Deb, you are totally spot on, this is sheer stock cupboard delight. I can’t get enough of crispy breadcrumbs anything these days, thanks mostly to your cauliflower extraordinaire but love, love, love pasta con pangrattato. Welcome home.

  2. I had wondered about your fried eggs/fried egg salad in light of your new announcement. So you’re cool with runny yolks? I can’t do it, but I’m sure I’m being overly cautious on my end. I have a ton of girlfriends who ate sushi during their pregnancy, saying that as long as they knew how reputable the chef was they felt safe. I’ve relented on most cheeses as they are all pasteurized to be in this country, but nay on the runny eggs. Which sounds divine, btw.

    1. deb

      Molly — I mention in the recipe that I flipped mine for a moment so it was 90% solid. With the fried egg salad, one does the same; the directions are to cook the eggs on the second side “until the yolks are set but still slightly molten” which pretty much makes me hungry every time I read it, and is the ideal compromise between runny (“danger!”) and hard/dry yolks.

      That said, I’m definitely sloppier with restrictions this time, just keep finding myself two bites into, say, a Cubano in Miami in December before remembering I’m not supposed to have lunch meats!

  3. Melanie

    This is great stuff! I do a crispy egg white since I don’t care for yolks, and it is still wonderful! Do not skip the lemon zest! Seems a small thing, but really makes this stand out!

  4. Emily S

    i actually made something similar to this awhile ago, but my version had no breadcrumbs, just bon appetit’s roasted cauliflower with parm thrown into the bowl & some crumbled bacon. divine with the crispy egg!

  5. Jessi

    This looks amazing! The crispy egg finishes it. It almost reminds me of a riff on a carbonara.

    One tiny edit, though: it’s spaghetti pangrattato (literally: grated bread, or breadcrumbs).

    1. deb

      Jessi — Is that so? I know that pangrattato is breadcrumbs, but is this a thing apart, when they’re seasoned? This probably explains why I could find barely any references to it in ANY of my Italian cookbooks and only a few online. It seemed absurd. (I would have made this sooner if I hadn’t gotten hung up on the research part.)

  6. Quite honestly I have never seen anything quite like this. I love my sunny up eggs in the morning and my spaghetti for lunch but never even thought they could be combined. I tend to be a picky eater but seeing your pictures has erased all my fears. Now I can get my eggs for lunch or dinner. DELICIOUS!

  7. Liz

    I’ve been making Mark Bittman’s spaghetti with fried eggs (an old Minimalist recipe) for years. It’s similar, except w/o the breadcrumbs. It’s also my kids’ FAVORITE meal. They both asked for it for their birthday dinners. Cheap and easy. I’m so proud.

  8. I am very sure your research was not in vain deb, it is always nice to find out were food comes form before you eat it. Makes for a more satisfying meal in my books. I am simply in love with all your crispy fried egg recipes: I want to try them all! There is always good reason to fry an egg :)

  9. Tiffany

    Wow! This is the perfect weeknight dinner for a single working mom with two hungry daughters. Would love suggestions on where to find those large individual bowls or something similar.

  10. Amanda

    I feel your runny egg yolk sadness. I, too, am pregnant and not enjoying runny or raw eggs! Meat overdone, no raw fish, no processed meat, no soft-serve, etc. But your pictures of adorable Jacob remind me that it is all worth it! :)

    I hope your second trimester is going swell!! :)

  11. Sam

    My husband loves capers, but I don’t, any recommendations for a substitute? I recently had sweetly drops on an antipasto plate and they were delicious. So they may work. Can’t wait to try this!

  12. Oh, the crispy egg! How I love it for turning almost anything I can scrounge from my fridge into a respectable meal. Glad you had such a lovely trip. My husband did the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, and we visited Punta Cana. Still one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.

  13. Adrianne G.

    That Onion article link! This. So Much. Happened to me. I no longer go on vacation with certain factions of my family — they demanded a CAKE! (And I don’t even have kids.)

    All right, I’m done. Yum, Deb. I especially love smittenkitchen because there are a lot of vegetarian recipes and I have gallstones so I can’t eat meat (or eggs — I know!), and I want to try this tonight with a few modifications. :D

  14. Looks wonderful! I’ve been eating runny eggs all of my 61+ years, and I’ve never once gotten sick from them. Love them! In fact, I’m making breakfast for supper tonight with buttermilk biscuits, sausage, bacon, gravy, and RUNNY eggs. :)

  15. SallyO

    It’s creepy how many times this blog features either what I’m sorely craving, or, a recent meal that I have made. In this case, it’s the latter. Too many years ago, in the early 80’s a good friend of the family who was a super foodie (and not even Italian), asked me and my mother to stay for dinner on a night when his wife was sick and we had gone to visit. He hadn’t planned on dinner guests so he just “whipped” up some pasta. Yep, it was the pangritata. It had fried crumbs of French bread with parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, parmesan, and capers. It was so simple and yet so memorable, that over the years I have made variations on it. I never forgot it. Last week, I got to remembering again how yummy this is and made it again. And now this post. Sometimes I add bits of pancetta, or bacon. The egg is a new take and I can’t believe I haven’t done that. Next time!

  16. Rhonda

    Hi Deb –

    What a delight to see my recipe on your site! The version of “spaghetti with breadcrumbs” I make is a riff on an Arthur Schwartz recipe, combined with a recipe from Jamie Oliver and a few of my own tweaks. I’ve read the comments here and on Instagram regarding the proper Italian for “grated bread” – I would throw J.O. under the bus for the mistake except he’s too nice and I should have done my research – so I offer my apologies instead. Thanks for giving my recipe a try and wishing you a happy, healthy, easy baby!

  17. deb

    Pangritata, pangrattato — Now fixed! I realized the error on my way to my lunchtime swim and cringed through all of my laps. (I’m kind of neurotic about editorial errors, you know, for someone who makes them as often as I do.) Thanks for the heads up, and also for clearing up my confusion as to why I couldn’t find more references to it in books and websites.

    Caper substitutes — Olives, anchovies and other salt/briny things are usually what would be suggested, but you can also skip it. The purpose is to add that salty/briny flavor and if you don’t care for it, no reason to add it here. This style of breadcrumbs is very flexible and even with half the ingredients, you’d still get the idea of it (albeit with a less complex flavor).

    Molly — No worries at all. Were you careful about this stuff? I can’t even remember how I was with Jacob. Dubious, knowing me.

    Molly — Yes, panko was exactly what I used. They’re great in a pinch because the flavor is totally neutral and they pick up oil/crisp/flavors well.

  18. Sophie

    Yum!!! I’m pregnant too. And the second go around I’m not quite as “safe” with the restrictions. I’ve craved fried eggs a lot. Do you think the crispy eggs would still work with pasteurized eggs ( that way we could still eat them

  19. Kelly

    As another pregnant mother of a second, I will agree that I am more laid back this pregnancy than the first. The statement “still slightly molten” about egg yolks nearly has me a) running to the kitchen (except that I would wake up a toddler) and b) crying my gratitude from the rooftop. This has been added to my weekly meal plan — probably with a bit of hard salami and salad to round it out.

  20. I am so deep into pregnancy brain right now that I can barely remember what I avoided during my first pregnancy, and Lilli is only two! I do know that my stepdad who was an OB/GYN is far more relaxed about this than I ever will be. His only comment when we announced my pregnancy was, “Don’t change the cat’s litter box.” But that’s about it. Last week, when I was lamenting the urge for a good deli sandwich (we’ll ignore the fact that I write a vegetarian food blog) his comment was to have it once a month, post 24 weeks. I replied I’d wait to have my corned beef sandwich and plates of fried salami and eggs (heaven) post-partum. We drove up to Montreal for our summer vacation in August, and Schwartz’s is now what my fantasies are made of. I could really go for a tuna melt, but that’s me basically every day, pregnant or not.

  21. Love the measurement “glug” here. 100% scientific, for all intents and purposes.

    This is also perfect because I just bought a chunk of Grana Padana yesterday that I conveniently “forgot” to send to my mom in her birthday package. Whoops!

  22. Leslie

    For those that are preggers and loving this site AND wanting a deli/lunch meat sammich I have news! I happen to work in the deli at Safeway(aka, Domminicks, Tom Thumb, Von’s etc..) and some of our Primo Talgio lunch meat is ok to eat while expecting…they are as follows (PT Pan Roasted Turkey, PT Roast Beef *actually center cut top sirlion*, PT Ham off the Bone and PT Peppered Turkey) these are all actual meat not bits and pieces chopped, pressed and formed. Kroger or anywhere that sells “Boars Head” will also have a similar list. My daughter also asked her OB/GYN with her last one and the deli meats she was primarily concerned with were ones like “Oscar Myers” ones that are cut who knows where and are massively shelf stable. If you have a local deli guy who slices his/her own meats and you trust them
    ….I know the NY area has delis that are 50+ years old….then your golden!

  23. Funny that I’ve read your website for years but never commented till now. We just got back from a similar vacation in Jamaica and it was the BEST THING EVER. We came home and I ordered pizza because that was basically all I could do after lugging the kids through airports and customs. Your meal looks much nicer and tastier than mine was :)

  24. After a sleepless night – with not even a baby for an excuse – I needed something, and this was it. I made it with some sauteed ribbons of kale from the garden and skipped the capers, since I didn’t have any. Then I ate this wonderful, comforting meal while watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey. So good!

  25. kylie

    Wow! this looks amazing. I just indulged in a very nutritious, McDonalds fry. I decided to change my life and look up food blogs. I loved your stories and thought that it was very funny you decided not to have kids because your bad timing in a vacation! I know what that is like. I as well love the taste of the “Crispy egg” and try to use it in many of the recipes that I like to cook. The vacation you took sounds like so much fun and will have to try a place like that with my family as it seems that one of us is always bored, happy cooking!

  26. Marilyn

    I just tried this tonight – followed the recipe exactly, as I always do with a new recipe. I used Panko bread crumbs – delicious! I did overcook the eggs, but will correct that next time. Very tasty and filling – even hubby loved it!

  27. Erin

    I should probably know this from all the crispy egg recipes, but do you recommend cracking the eggs into a bowl/ramekin first and adding that to the pan or just crack right into the hot oil? One at a time or all three at once (if bowl)? Thanks!

  28. Liz

    I ate whatever I wanted all three pregnancies. I have lived outside the USA and they find Americans hilarious in their food neuroses. The Swiss eat raw eggs and raw pork. The Japanese eat raw fish pregnant. Nearly every industrialized country has lower infant and maternal mortality than we do. The French are eating unpasteurized cheese and doing just fine. If you ate it before your body can handle it. I remember craving red meat, the bloodier the better, with my oldest and tons of sashimi with the youngest. When I was pregnant with my third I had a German friend who used to laugh at us, she said Germans ate what they wanted and did not take prenatal vitamins. With what we know about MTHFR which runs in my family it turns out I was lucky I barfed up prenatal vitamins and stopped trying.

  29. This sounds great.

    Funny you would post something with spaghetti pasta. I cooked some last night! Though it was for a different dish as I also made a big Dutch oven’s worth of spaghetti sauce – and cookies yesterday.

    Tonight is leftovers.

    I may have to try this with some leftover spaghetti I have in the fridge, maybe tomorrow.

  30. Christine

    Pregnant folks craving runny eggs – just buy pasteurized eggs!!! Saved me about halfway through my pregnancy when I was going crazy about the restrictions.

  31. This is fabulous Deb, and exactly what I needed this morning. I was having a very lazy Monday and woke up to see this fabulous post. I made it for dinner tonight, with the addition of a chicken breast, and it did just the trick. Delicious and thank you for sharing!

  32. caroline

    Just made this for dinner tonight, except I started with frying bacon, and then used the bacon fat to fry up the panko. Went without the rosemary (it is my spice-I-don’t-like) and stuck with parsley.
    I am kind of in love with breakfast spaghetti. Thank you!

  33. Chad

    I’ll have to make my own pasta with kale and spinach and add some bacon but this looks fine as is without any alterations. Who has time to make good pasta. Another stupid comment, right?

  34. Geri

    Love your recipes Deb. Pasta is the most comforting food and quickest for late night fare. Made just a couple additions trying to use up leftovers. Had Canadian bacon and a little New Orleans olive mix used on muffalettas. Sure was a hit and will do this again.

  35. Terri

    I so love the crispy egg you introduced me to, but save it for special occasions ONLY because all that hissing and spitting messes up my cook top so badly! And since I am no longer of childbearing age, I will adore the runny yolk in your honor. :)

  36. Dahlink

    It has been a long time since I have dealt with restrictions in pregnancy, since my “kids” are now in their 30s and late 20s. Basically I remember no alcohol and no raw meat or fish. Now cold cuts are verboten? News to me!

  37. It’s either the weather, cravings, or great minds – made something similar the other night using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Had it again for breakfast the next day (is that strange?). Hope you are feeling well and keeping warm!

  38. Yes Indeed! I’ve been there — scoffing at haggard parents with unruly kids — saying mine children will never do that. Well, actually they didn’t but that was just because when they were really little we never went anywhere. By the time they were old enough they behaved well and we managed to go to Disney World. Now your recipe sounds delicious and it is on the roster for this week. Thank you for sharing your stories and your excellent recipes. Buona Giornata!

  39. Christina

    In response to Liz (comment 60): while I share your bafflement at the oddities of country-based dietary guidelines for pregnant women (no salad for the Italians! liver pate just fine for the Danes!), these are actually in place for the best of reasons: to protect the unborn child from very rare but very serious harms. A listeria infection from poorly processed meat or soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk may be completely undetected by the mother, as her body can handle it, as you say, but may result in severe malformations of the child. French women may continue to consume wine and soft cheeses, but they are recommended not to, as are the Swiss. European countries all recommend taking folic acid and iron supplements. I’m getting a little preachy here, but will finish up with saying that of course anyone is free to disregard the official advice – much of it sounds draconian – but doing it with knowledge of the risks and benefits is preferable.

  40. Hi, Deb! This looks so yummy quick and simple, my kind of meal!I confess I was very surprised to read about the runny egg yolk during pregnancy… I am a) 32 weeks pregnant with my first b) a runny yolk lover to the marrow of my bones. Seriously, it’s nature’s secret sauce and should come out of the taps. c) having lots of egg as protein because beef, chicken and sometimes pork have been very so offputting during my pregnancy. d) hearing about this restriction for the very first time!
    I’m consoling myself with the knowledge that my OBGYN is a much respected eminence in his field, and he said it’s fine. I do know you guys in the States are very serious about pasteurizing everything, here in Costa Rica you can still find raw milk, homemade artisan cheeses and many a non FDA approved goodie. So I guess I’ll stick to passing on fish tartare, sushi and ceviche, but i will have me a bowl of this pasta with a runny yolk tonigh, ha!

  41. Emily

    Deb, this looks so good! We were at the Florida location of the kid-centric, kid-mobbed resort you mention – not sure about Punta Cana, but Sandpiper Bay starts daycare for kids as young as four months….Just a thought for next year. :)

  42. Catherine Berryessa

    Someone should do a cook book that is strictly food from the pantry.I work full time, and get dinner on the table every night(ok to be fair, no kids), have done this for 30 years. I finally did your Cacio de Pepe(Was it really 2010???)and it’s my go to pasta, side or main dish when in a hurry or out of ideas. This new egg/pasta recipe can go straight into that file!

  43. kinsey09

    Couldn’t wait and made this last night. What a great way to use little bits and pieces of what’s on hand – the last of the panko, a few crushed croutons, some fresh spinach, a little leftover shredded rotisserie chicken – with lots of lemon zest and capers. Husband loved it too!

  44. Thanks for filling us in on your travels. I’m always dying to hear where people went & stayed, as if knowing will somehow make my winter less cold and long, but it also strikes me as tacky to ask. Funny, we also (#80) finally did Cacio y pepe last night and we were all: Why don’t we eat this EVERY night?!? Also, not sure you care, but the url on this one still has the old spelling. Also, one of my all-time favorite Onion articles – kudos for bringing back a classic!

  45. Christine

    I was pretty laid back with my first pregnancy. Runny eggs? Sure. Cold cuts? Are they new? YES PLEASE. By the time the second comes around, I’ll be like, hand me my mercury smelling salts. :)

  46. Michelle C.

    I made this for dinner last night, with the exception of using dried instead of fresh herbs. It was AMAZING! I was a little bit wary of how it would turn out simply because there’s no real sauce, but with that crispy egg it didn’t need one. Thank you!

  47. Linda

    Love love love your blog; however, this question does not pertain to cooking. What is your secret for a lunchtime swim in NYC in February? I can’t manage getting to gym pool during the winter, and I live in the Deep South! Would love some tips(read inspiration). Thank you! Will be cooking this recipe this week. All best for second baby – my three are all adults now- they bring such blessings and joy.

  48. Michela D

    I am also preggers and due to pop in early July…I was/am so excited to hear about your wonderful news! Your statement about the 2nd trimester carb-cravings spoke to my heart and this dish looks like it will be making an appearance in my kitchen very very soon ;) Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful kitchen adventures!

  49. nola2chi

    Been out of the baby making business for a long time, but my son was made of venison and gumbo! lotsa runny duck eggs (freshly laid and still warm when cracked) and anything else my little heart desired. Only thing that didn’t stay down was a snowball one morning on an empty stomach. Yes, very bad choice, but it was Jazz Fest! and I was excessively warm.

    On the crispy egg topic, I grew up calling them black lace eggs. Ours were fried in bacon grease. So yummy, I still do it. We get jowl bacon from the Happy Pig Lady, C&D Family Farms, and I render the fat and use it for special stuff. Often saying that something is nearly vegan ‘cept I started the onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic in bacon fat.

    For reference, I cooked in vegetarian restaurants long ago and even briefly worked in the kitchen of a Zen Macro Bio restaurant in Nijmegen, Netherlands in the ’70’s. I adore vegies and use tons of them. Over the years it has seemed the healthiest people I’ve come across were not obsessive about ruling out a whole class of food.
    If my great-gram would recognize it, I’ll probably eat it.

    On the pasta front, I’m in love with soba noodles, made from buckwheat. Been a hard sell for my husband. He decided he didn’t like buckwheat a long time ago when I made some very heavy pancakes.

    Have loved “smittenkitchen” for many years, thank you for the tremendous effort you continue to invest for others to enjoy. Your family is lucky to have you.

  50. Judith

    Hi there,
    Recipie looks scrumptious , I wish my husband liked fried eggs of any sort. He is a bit weird about eggs. I will make this though and leave off the eggs for him. I am a mother of three healthy boys, now men, and I ate everything and no one was the worst for it. Things were a little more laid back in my day. The only restrictio was caned Tuna,which was not my favourite thing anyway.

  51. i have been loooonging to make this recipe ever since i saw it on Food52, but your crispy egg may well be what gets it done. this is mouthwatering. i have a carbonara on the books for sunday night, but i think after that, this is the next pasta dish!

  52. maria

    You could also throw frozen peas in at the end of cooking the pasta to get your veggie component. It’s certainly doesn’t mitigate the starch like a salad would, but that’s my go-to lazy way of adding veggies to a tomato-less pasta dish.

  53. case

    Please tell me where you guys went on vacation. I have a 4 year old, and the pirate adventures sounds like so much fun for him. Maybe next year, I can plan a trip for us there.

  54. Aarthi

    This looks so divine. Deb, is that a new way of cooking spaghetti? In a deepish saucepan? Looks promising on not waiting for a ton of water to boil!

  55. Just some anecdata for all my fellow pregnant ladies out there, you should be fine to enjoy runny yolks as long as they’re heated (i.e. not actually raw, yolk will be a little thicker but still runny), at least in the US. Everyone should do what they are comfortable with but ALL of my docs are totally fine with runny yolks throughout!

  56. Susan

    Here is my version of smitten kitchen’s Spaghetti Pangrattato with Crispy Eggs. Note: I had NO fresh rosemary (used dried), NO lemon zest, NO capers and NO parsley. I used a stale whole wheat baguette to make the pangrattato. I did have pecorino romano. Even without all those things, this was delicious!! Will have it again – maybe tomorrow!

  57. This looks so delicious! I was looking for something easy but still yummy for dinner, and I’m so glad I checked your site. I’m definitely making this for dinner.

  58. Kay

    Just a quick note to say: I love your blog… your quips, your attitude……& of course your wonderful recipes.
    Thank you thank you……
    Please keep posting!

  59. Maro

    I made this last night after being home sick for 3 days — it was the first thing that i wanted to eat other than blueberries and broth. the only change i made is that i rarely use breadcrumbs for anything, so i used my standby: Gari. it is an african dry, fermented, grated starchy tuber that’s super crunchy. it worked perfectly, is gluten-free (for those who need it), and falls in line with my dietary needs. i can’t wait to have more tonight!

  60. Annie

    Made this for dinner last night and it was fabulous! I used a little bit of dried rosemary. I also didn’t have a lemon, so tossed a 1/2 t. of bottled lemon juice in just before adding the breadcrumbs.

    I had tried the crispy egg a few weeks back but it didn’t really work. This time, it worked like a charm! My guess is the nonstick skillet just really wasn’t hot enough last time…I used cast iron this time. Thanks for a great recipe that’s sure to become a staple!

  61. Sarah

    This is what separates Deb as an exceptional food blogger… Inspiration!!! She inspires a better dinner. I wanted this meal tonight, but started making dinner at 9pm with a 5am alarm set. So, I wanted to spend 5 min or less in the kitchen. What did I make? Some “all natural” version of ramen noodles with a handful of spinach and yes, a crispy Egg on top! It was good! I’ll have to wait for the weekend to try the real thing

  62. deb

    Pan I’m cooking the spaghetti in — It’s actually just a 3-quart saute pan from All-Clad, a very useful pan! Probably not the recommended amount of water, but it’s never bothered us. I only have 2 pots that are wide enough for spaghetti and the other is massive and takes forever to boil, hence I used this.

    Linda (sorry, missed this earlier) — The pool is very well-heated, the walk home with wet hair (in a hat, yes, in case a mom is reading)… not so great, but I live close. I’ve swum 2-3x a week for many years, missing some chunks of time while book touring and new-baby-having of course. I think the only secret is I hate missing swims, I feel doubly tired and cranky at the end of the day when I can’t make it, so basically the inconvenience is better than the alternative. Plus, if the worst part is shivering home with wet hair, well, you’re already done by then. It’s more of a victory lap. ;)

  63. Trisha

    Mm, this reminds me of a dish I love from Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pepin. It has Comte and fresh chives instead of bread crumbs. Maybe we’ll have it this weekend!

  64. David Giordano

    As a pasta lover myself, I think this is an interesting an unique preparation for spaghetti! Works as both a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner. I look forward to trying this recipe out in the future. Thanks for sharing!

  65. Deb Stoller

    How did I miss that you are pregnant again?!?! So excited for you – maybe this one will be a girl! I remember reading that you were working on a 2nd book – was that code for baby? haha I want to make this spaghetti asap! I don’t know if my family will eat it but more for me! Congrats and good luck and best wishes and everything! My daughter and I met you when you were in St. Louis promoting your first book and we’ve never forgotten it.

  66. Your story about vacationing made me laugh! Before I had kids, I always opted for kid-free resorts (when I had the choice). And even now that I do have kids, I would 100% prefer to leave the kids behind with the grandparents and go to an adults-only resort.

    I actually find vacationing at a resort with little kids to be stressful, because I’m always mindful of how their behaviour might be affecting other people, and also trying to make sure they act like reasonable human beings at meal times. And there’s the whole being unable to relax because you don’t want them to drown. ;) Maybe when they are older, it will be more of an actual vacation, but for the time being, I’ll leave the kids behind and then go sleep on a beach for a week. Where I need to think about nothing beyond my next drink choice.

  67. Valerie

    We made this for dinner last night and it was so delicious! The best thing was that we didn’t have to buy anything, we had all the ingredients on hand. This was the first time we had tried the crisp-fried egg and my husband cooked them a little long, so we didn’t have a runny yolk to add sauciness to the pasta, so it was a bit dry, but still very flavorful!
    Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes.

  68. Daniel

    This was amazing! I used some pesto as I didn’t have parsley on hand but it worked out wonderfully. Best part was that all 3 of the kids approved as well! Definitely going on the regular rotation.

  69. Corinne

    Deb!!!! One of your many fans! So many of your wonderful recipes are regulars in my repitoir to be shared with family and friends! But this! This I made just for myself tonight…the fiancée is on a work trip, which would normally mean a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine or three for dinner because I just can’t be bothered to go to the trouble just for myself. But I already had a single serving of leftover cooked spaghetti so I whipped this beauty of a dish up in less than 15 minutes! The best part of dining alone is there’s no one around to judge you when you lick the plate and eat the leftover breadcrumbs out of a bowl with a spoon :)

    Oh, I didn’t have a lemon on hand, so I decided to add a pinch of red pepper flakes to add another layer of flavor to the breadcrumbs and it was terrific!

  70. Thank you so much for putting a tiny little link to my blog post about goûter! I was checking my analytics yesterday and saw a huge surge in page views, and I mean HUGE. I couldn’t understand what had happened and traced it back to you! So thank you once again. It means a lot for such a small time blogger as me to be linked by you :-) #happyface

    1. deb

      Phoebe — Thank you! I went through the top Google results and I liked your explanation in American terms the best. It also helped cool my tut-tuting over the fact that my son now expects sugar cereal, a chocolate pastry and sometimes chocolate ice cream with sprinkles for his afternoon snack (thanks, French camp!), rather than the Cheerios or whole wheat pretzels and fresh fruit that used to cut it. We’ve met halfway — I now throw in a petit écolier, and peace has been restored.

    1. deb

      Try it at a slightly lower heat. I’m using a very heavy skillet and it holds heat well. With a thinner one, it might scorch before it gets a nice brown crunch underneath if the heat is too high for it.

  71. Oh hooray! This was SO good. My Honey and I both woke up feeling like we were coming down with something so I doubled the garlic and the comfort of this dish both made us feel better. It’s a miracle! ;) Also, I am infinitely grateful that something so tasty is also so affordable.

    Would you like to hear a happy story? I made a good friend thanks to you and you don’t even know it! A couple of years back I left a question here in the comments section asking what a substitute for buttermilk could be here in France. Another expat answered super kindly so we looked up each other’s blogs et voila! Merci, Deb.

  72. nan long

    I made this for dinner last night, and it was divine. I doubed the recipe and three pigs gobbled almost all of it, along with a small green salad. Super delish.

  73. Jennifer

    Deb. I love you. I really do. Your recipes are divine. You inspire me. If an expectant mother of a young boy can do it, why not me? None of your recipes ever disappoint, and this was a pantry staple perfect dinner for the Lenten season! Thank you, thank you. The garlic panko crumbs really made this dish terrific. Congratulations on your pregnancy… and keep those recipes coming!!

  74. Sarah


    You are a glorious, fabulous, amazing, creature. This recipe was so simple and absolutely delicious. I normally don’t try pasta recipes since I have my own go-tos but this just appealed to every craving I’m having and it really hit the spot. Great texture and even better taste. THANK YOU. I’m 7 weeks pregnant right now and literally every “craving” (they haven’t been any different then my pre-pregnant cravings so I’m not entirely sure how much I can blame on the little sprout and how much is me being easily suggestable) I have had has either been triggered by or acknowledged in one of your posts. While I was still in the two-week-wait I needed key lime pie, and have now been craving chocolate, carbs, and crispy eggs. I already loved your site, but I think I’m quickly entering total infatuation.

  75. Gerley

    So the shocking thing about this recipe is that the capers aren’t fried! It’s like I don’t know you… Excuse me while I wait for the oil to heat to fry my capers since I am trying this as we speak and YOU taught me about the greatness that is fried capers!!

  76. deb

    Gerley — I KNOW. It was so hard not to. I want to put them on everything. The original recipe had capers in with the crumbs; I figured it would make the crumbs soggy so just added them at the end. However, if you crisp them first, they’d be amazing added to the crumb mix.

  77. Deb, I took a chance and made this for dinner the other night. I didn’t have everything, but most of it. It was superb. I did however over cook the eggs, but we didn’t care it was that good!!! Thanks, as some nights its all I can do to walk in the door from work!!! Guess I’m getting ready for retirement attitude!!

  78. Stephanie

    This tasted great! Husband didn’t want an egg, so I cooked up some Italian sausage and tossed his portion with it, which he loved.

  79. My favorit…spaghetti with breadcrumbs joined by my new favorite…the crispy egg.
    How have I managed to miss combining the two? Thank you thank you.

  80. Whoa whoa whoa….this thing better get in mahhh belllayyyy now (said with a masculine voice)!!! I used to be all about the tomato spaghetti and although the REALLY good ones are invaluable, the simple buttery/oily ones are just as awesome. What a beautiful recipe, Deb!!!

  81. Great! We put eggs on everything because of our backyard chicken production-I have yet to serve them on pasta~ I will be making this tonight and adding a little crispy speck or prosciutto on the top!

  82. How, how did you manage to put all my favorite foods in one dish?!
    Pasta, crispy, runny eggs, some breadcrumbs for more delicious carbs… Mind-boggling.
    Thank you!

  83. James

    I made this for dinner last night and my 6 1/2 year old son exclaimed, “This is the best pasta, ever!” Thank you!

  84. marisa

    I would be curious to see the nutritional information on this. I would assume that it matters what specific brands of the ingredients you use but just give us a baseline if you could. Please.

  85. Shan

    Well, I am late to the party. Congratulations to the three of you. Because I know it matters, I want a girl : )

    I wonder if this would be good with the addition of sardines.

    Maybe this will supplant my non-stop obsession with kimchi soup and pancakes… both with an egg. Seriously. Nonstop. And I have no babies : ( for an understanding head nodding excuse. Luckily I alone am obsessed so I don’t have to share.

  86. I love spaghetti with breadcrumbs – I often make a quick one with sardines, pine nuts and sultanas. Sounds weird but is actually great. This sounds glorious!

  87. I made this for dinner tonight – it was fantastic, and I had all the ingredients on hand except the pecorino (though I did use dried rosemary). I have a big bag of panko crumbs on hand, mostly for meatballs, and I had no idea I could make delicious garlic rosemary breadcrumbs with them in less than 10 minutes! Talk about a gamechanger! This was perfect comfort food, and I’ll definitely be making those delicious crumbs regularly!

  88. Thank you, Deb. This was delicious. Can’t tell you how much I appreciate your recipes. I’ve been using you for dinner inspiration for 6 years now. Much appreciation.

  89. Meg

    I made this for dinner tonight. It’s delicious. Our little kid doesn’t usually like fried eggs, but LOVES capers so it even won her over. My husband liked the taste, but complained that it was ‘too dry.’ He puts sauce on everything. Any suggestions for making it a little saucier? (Is that a thing?)

  90. Kristy

    I just made this and while amazing, it’s definitely too dry. I suggest adding a little more olive oil to the pasta once it’s plated, and maybe 2 eggs per dish so that there’s more runny yolk.

  91. Marlana

    I made this on a Friday night in a hurry, and it was such a great change from the sad affair of leftovers that is usually our end-of-week dinner. I am admittedly weird about eggs, but the crispy fried egg is my new favorite thing. Thanks for saving dinner for us, Deb. As always, it did not disappoint.

  92. Emily

    Glad you had a lovely time at Club Med! We’ve been going to the Cancun resort for several years, starting with President’s Week and then shifting to spring break. Having been repeat GMs, it’s so much fun to see the same GOs on different visits. When visiting over President’s Week repeatedly we even saw the same guests! Do hope you tried some White Chocolate Bread!

  93. Hi!
    I really like your website and I thank you for this great recipies. I like spaghetti a lot and this combination with eggs makes you really sated. You dont need a big steak ;)
    Take this spaghetti :)
    Best greetings from germany,

  94. Don’t know why people obsess about not eating runny eggs.

    Simply buy your eggs from a source where you can either see the chickens running around in a field or open pens with shelters so you know that they are free range. If you can’t do that, consider not buying eggs at all unless they are free range.

    It is keeping poultry in crowded conditions in sheds that encourages poor hygiene and salmonella. It’s cruel to the chickens too.

    I can say that for sure, I have always eaten runny eggs, even when I was a kid, and that never made me sick. Nor have unpasteurized soft cheeses, or unpasteurized milk or the street food I have eaten around the world.

    Keep a healthy digestion with probiotics and just eating fresh raw food and you will never fall victim to food related sickness.

  95. Gail

    You know, every time I see one of your (delicious) egg-on-top recipes, the Beyonce song pops into my head: “If you like it, you shoulda put an egg on it”. Every time.

  96. Nancy Sayer

    Wow! -this is such a great meal to prepare for those of us who live alone and often default to popcorn! I have followed you on Facebook for several years, been inspired often and love how to let us know about your family, how ideas come and offer such great advice. Thanks so much for sharing. Can’t wait to have this again!

  97. JP L

    Made this tonight, dinner for 1, while my wife is away. It was wonderful. I always have a problem figuring out the pasta portion (dry) for 1 person, though. The good news: leftovers! Thanks for this one.

  98. allysen

    oh my gosh you’re a food genius. just made this with wild garlic egg pasta. I’ve never made pangrattato before but it added that savory crispiness that I love and the fried egg is good on just about anything. thank you!

  99. Chum

    Good God, Deb. This was so addictive that I stole some off my boyfriend’s plate when he went to the kitchen to get me a drink (at my request…cunning, huh?).

  100. Barbara

    I’ve now made this about a dozen times. If Smitten Kitchen had never published anything but this one recipe it would nonetheless merit a website of its own. It is so much more than it appears. Delectable.

  101. deb

    Gitty — It would have less texture, so I don’t think I’d prefer itHar.

    Dane — I’m not positive. I haven’t tried to keep it for long. You’d think it would stay crispy but if the oil causes it to trap moisture, it’s hard to say.

  102. Luckily your post today about not being able to stop eating this, forced me to FINALLY address the crispy eggs and give them a try tonight. Can’t wait to see how it turns out :D

  103. Anna

    Just wanted to tell you my son turned 3 weeks old today and I made this for myself for dinner with the pangratto and crispy egg treatment, the first thing I’ve cooked since before he was born. It was just wonderful, even at room temperature (because of course he woke up just as I was sliding the egg out of the pan.)