This is my go-to recipe for nights when the pantry and fridge are looking a bit bare. It’s made from things we always have on hand in our house: boxes of pasta, a big bowl of lemons, a few chunks of fresh Parmesan. Always try to buy a few simple pantry items like these in larger quantities so you can whip up a pasta like this at a moment’s notice.

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  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, slivered
  • ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby or wild arugula


In a skillet, combine the panko with 2 tablespoons of the oil and toss to combine. Toast over medium heat, stirring, until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a small bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 10 to 12 minutes to infuse the oil and gently cook the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon zest and remove from the heat.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta well, and transfer to a large bowl. Immediately add the arugula, the infused oil with the garlic, and the bread crumbs. Use tongs to gently toss everything together. Mound the pasta on a large platter and serve.