I could never go on the Atkins diet, largely because pasta is my go-to meal. Go to when I need comfort food. Go to when I need a relatively fast dinner. Go to cause I’m craving carbs. This innate desire to consume pasta is probably relating to the fact that I grew up eating it roughly 5 nights a week. This particular dish dates back to when I was little and my dad would travel for work. Mom always made this pasta because it was fast and easy and delicious, and since my dad didn’t really like it, it was sort of our special thing to do when he was away. I hadn’t had this meal in years and then a few years back I got a hankering for it and decided to give it a try myself. So what is it, you ask? Pasta with fried eggs. Trust me on this, it is worth a try. If you like garlic, and you like fried eggs, then this is a sort of natural leap. It is crunchy, slightly saucy, eggy simplicity. The only catch is that it takes a bit of timing to get things right, but really, it’s not hard and its all over in less than 20 minutes. I make this when I am in a hurry (like tonight because I had yoga class), or my husband will make it on nights when I am going to be late. Outlined below is enough to feed me (or 2 normal people):
4 cloves of garlic, smashed but not chopped (see picture above)
1/4 pound of spaghetti (or any long pasta – linguine, fettuccine, etc)
Olive oil – enough to coat the bottom of your pan
Parmesan cheese to finish it out
Start the pasta water boiling. Always, always, always salt your pasta water. Even if it’s just a little bit. The pasta flavor comes out so much more with a touch of salt added. In the meantime, use your knife to smoosh and peel the garlic. Add olive oil and garlic to a small non-stick saucepan. You want a decent coating of olive oil (you can sort of see that in the photo above). Once the water is about to boil, turn the heat to medium under the sauce pan and let the garlic get lightly browned.
Once garlic is lightly browned, crack the eggs and add them to the pan as you would if you were frying them for breakfast. DO NOT TOUCH THEM UNTIL THEY ARE DONE. Resist the urge to flip them or move them or the garlic around. Just let them get good and crispy and reasonably well done. Added motivation to stay away from the eggs: they’ll probably spatter a bit and nothing sucks more than a spot of hot olive oil to the eyes or face. Here is what they will look like when they are cooked:
The eggs may finish before the pasta does, if so, just remove them from the heat. When the pasta is finished cooking, DO NOT POUR IT INTO A STRAINER. Put your pasta bowl next to the pot, and use tongs (or some other weapon of choice) and lift the pasta, preferrably with some water still on it, into your bowl. You will want to reserve the pasta water just in case this is a little dry for you. Once you get the pasta into the bowl, pour the eggs, garlic, oil (which will be mostly absorbed by the eggs) on top, add a generous sprinkle of Parmesan, a spoonful or 2 of pasta water and mix it all together to break up the eggs a bit and ensure the pasta is well flavored:
You’ve got to eat it immediately, while it’s good and hot. Some folks won’t like the garlic, so you can remove it before you serve it. You definitely don’t want this to sit around and it really can’t be reheated with any success.
I’m toying around with the idea of adding to this recipe. I’m thinking maybe a handful of spinach into the pasta water at the end to wilt it. Or maybe a handful of fresh tomato (or chunks of canned tomato) to the eggs to warm through before serving. That version would probably need herbs like parsley as well. There are folks who like the eggs a little more runny. They will cook once you mix them with the hot pasta and make the sauce a little more like a carbonara (creamier). Lots of possibilities and this one couldn’t get much easier.