I’m a person who, when necessary, can really just got into survival mode with food. In a good way, that is: I buy lots of roast-able, satisfying vegetables, avail myself of various spices, and scavenge around the fridge for leftover proteins. I eat lots of scrambled eggs with greens in the morning. I feel hungry, i check the time, I eat at appropriate intervals, it is mostly healthy, end scene.
That’s what I did a couple of months back during our move. In the weeks leading up to the big event, and the weeks after, eating became utilitarian. It’s not to say it wasn’t delicious: I tend to keep an incredibly well-stocked pantry, and by now, I know how to make even roasted broccoli and eggs exciting using things I already have, but nothing was really planned. I don’t remember what I ate, mostly. Time went by. I packed and unpacked. Dinner came and went.
Except this one dinner stuck with me. This pasta.
A standout for many reasons, one of them being that I almost never make pasta for myself. It doesn’t excite me, I don’t have the proper hand with it unless I’m making a concerted effort, in my opinion; I can do other things way better without trying. But I saw this recipe, probably during a weak, tired moment, and it looked like exactly what I wanted. So I put down my stupid tape roller, went to the store, and made myself an actual meal.
Friends: this is no ordinary pasta dish; it’s everything you want on a plate. Layers of brine, herbs, sour citrus, crunchy breadcrumbs, all held together with a little olive oil and parmesan. The ingredient list reads like a laundry list of my weaknesses: honestly, I could set it to the tune of “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music and not even feel bad about it.
Although I made it in the dead of winter, it’s perfect for anytime of year; the magic of herbs and lemons makes that so. Briny as it may be, the fresh greenness of the herbs really make it just taste like sunshine. Use a full-flavored olive oil for this – I like Trader Joe’s brand for this, but Sur la Table makes a nice one also, both inexpensive.
I made a few adjustments to the original recipe, found in Bon Appetit’s recipe archive. Double the breadcrumbs, a little less pasta to balance that out, more lemons, more parm. Also, I’m not adding the parmesan in as the sauce; I did it that way and it makes it clumpy and a little weird. Adding it to the breadcrumb mixture and tossing with the pasta near the end makes it perfect.
Linguine with Green Olive Sauce and Zesty Breadcrumbs
Serves | 4 |
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
- 8 ounces linguine or other long, thin pasta
- 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup green olives, pitted, halved
- 3 tablespoons drained capers
- 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving
- juice of 2 lemons, strained
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium and cook panko, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to paper towels to drain and toss with dill and lemon zest.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, mash anchovies and garlic to a paste on a cutting board with the side of a chef’s knife. Combine with parsley, basil, and half of olives and capers in a large bowl. Chop remaining olives and capers and add to bowl, along with remaining ½ cup oil. Mix well; season sauce with salt and pepper.
Add pasta and a little bit of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to sauce, if you need to; toss until sauce coats pasta. Add lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Twist in your Parmesan; top with panko mixture and more Parmesan to serve.