Sriracha and lemon spaghetti with chile pangrattato nods to both Italian and Southeast Asian cuisine. It combines pasta, garlic, lemon, and pangrattato with the beloved flavor of Sriracha hot sauce, adding heat, more garlic, and a vinegary tang.
Cross-fertilization of cuisines might not be to everyone’s taste. But this tangle of classic Italian chile, lemon, and garlic spaghetti with pangrattato, power-surged by Southeast Asian Sriracha, works well. Indeed, the addition of a pre-made, moreish hot sauce is an incredibly efficient way of layering pasta and breadcrumbs. Not just with heat, but with a sweet, garlicky, sticky tang that neither fresh nor dried chiles can add on their own. It’s an excellent way to quickly quench a heat craving.–Ed Smith
WHAT IS LC HUMP DAY PASTA?
We’re glad you asked. LC Hump Day Pasta (#LCHumpDayPasta) is a little something we cooked up to help you on the night of the week that you feel least like cooking. Wednesday was traditionally Prince Spaghetti Day (for those of you old enough to remember). We’ve revamped and updated that to Hump Day and included every type of pasta there is.
WHAT IS PANGRATTATO?
Meaning grated bread in Italian, that’s essentially what it is, except…SO. MUCH. BETTER. Like breadcrumbs with an upgrade, it’s often used as a stand-in for Parmesan when you don’t have any, for whatever reason (it’s known as Poor Man’s Parmesan for a reason). You can go from bread crumbs to near crouton size, it all works. Crispy fried bread is flavored with whatever you like and then sprinkled overtop of your pasta amps it up more than you can imagine. Pangrattato is a simple and cheap way to add texture and another layer of flavor to whatever you cook–they’re terrific on salads, eggs, pasta, or sautéed greens. So we’re saying make extra.
HOW HOT IS SRIRACHA SAUCE?
As a relatively important aside: your Sriracha could be hotter than Ed Smith’s. (He uses Flying Goose or Tabasco version.) And, indeed, your tolerance to chile may well differ, too. Generally speaking, Sriracha comes in at 1,000-2,500 Scoville Heat Units. In comparison, Tabasco sauce is 2,500-5,000 SHU and a habanero pepper will usually top out at 350,000 SHU. So give these quantities a go, but maybe make a note as to whether you need more or less fire next time.
Sriracha and Lemon Spaghetti with Chile Pangrattato
For the chile pangrattato
For the pasta
- Kosher salt
- 7 ounces spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic very finely sliced
- 1 ounce fresh parsley stems and leaves separated, both very finely chopped
- 3 to 5 tablespoons store-bought or homemade Sriracha
- Juice of half a lemon about 1 1/2 tablespoons
Make the chile pangrattato
- Tear apart the bread, including the crust, into fingernail-sized pieces.
- In a small, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the breadcrumbs and fry until they turn golden at the edges, 4 to 6 minutes.
☞TESTER TIP: Have your kitchen fan running before adding Sriracha to the skillet. This will help you avoid inhaling chile fumes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Before the garlic browns, add the Sriracha. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring, then add the chile flakes and sprinkle generously with salt. Cook until the crumbs are rust in color, crisp but still bouncy, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the heat and pour onto a plate.
Make the pasta
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook spaghetti according to package instructions.
- In a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic slices and let warm through, to mellow and flavor the oil, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add the parsley stems and cook for 1 minute. Add the Sriracha and remove from the heat. Shake the saucepan to mingle the hot sauce and oil. After 30 seconds, squeeze in the lemon juice.
- When the spaghetti is cooked, drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Dump the pasta into the saucepan with the garlic, parsley, and Sriracha mixture.
- Return the saucepan with the spaghetti mixture to the stove, placing over low heat. Add three or four tablespoons of cooking liquid and mix the pasta through the sauce. Stir in the parsley leaves and remove from the heat.
- Divvy between two serving plates or bowls, top with chile pangrattato, and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
As soon as this recipe for Sriracha and lemon spaghetti showed up in my inbox I knew I had to make it for dinner. THAT NIGHT! The only problem was that I didn’t have any Sriracha. But I did have a bottle of my favorite new condiment, Calabrian chile sauce, which has a very similar flavor profile. So of course, I made it twice. Once with the Calabrian sauce, and then again with the Sriracha once I purchased some. Both were outstanding, with the Sriracha having a bit more of a vinegar tang.
The pangrattato was brilliant and I’ll be making this, again and again, to use in other ways, in fact, I swiped some of the croutons for the Caesar salad I made to go with it. It wasn’t too spicy for me, but then again, I was too chicken to add the additional chile flakes. But, PRO TIP: Do make sure you are standing back from the stove and/or have the fan on when you add the Sriracha to the bread crumbs or you WILL inhale chile fumes!
As for the pasta preparation, I normally prep things in advance and then start boiling pasta. But this dish is so easy that I confidently dropped the pasta in the water knowing that I could complete all the prep by the time the pasta was done. The only thing I would add is that one could easily double the parsley and garlic, which I did on my second attempt, for a more robust flavor.
I served this with sirloin steak and Caesar salad, topped with leftover pangratto. This dish serves two or could be a great side dish serving three to four diners. The two of us consumed every morsel and crispy breadcrumb, swiping fingers through the pool of chile oil left on the plate in order to get every drop.
Holy buckets, this Sriracha and lemon spaghetti is hot, but it’s damn good. If you’re a lover of pasta and spice then this dish will check all your boxes. A little hit of cream at the end (in lieu of the pasta water) would mellow it out if you’re scared of the heat. And of course, you could reduce the amount of Sriracha to tame it down, but the dish offers more than just the heat.
The balance of flavors with the garlic, lemon, and heat is spot on. The pangrattato was just a lovely, buttery, crunchy, element that finished the dish to perfection. Grab a cold beer and the biggest pasta bowl you can find (and maybe an extra napkin to wipe the sweat from your brow), you won’t be sorry. This is the best recipe I’ve tested in quite some time. Cheers!
Originally published August 18, 2021