Long ago, in an apartment not too far away, I consumed a meal that changed my life.
It was discovered by accident from a little book called America’s Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two. Days earlier my mother had gifted the cookbook to us since I’d been complaining how much food we’d been wasting because I only know how to cook for small armies of hungry people (dead.serious). I spied the pasta section and within seconds my interest was piqued by a dish containing pasta, garlic, red pepper flakes, cheese, breadcrumbs, and get this — a fried egg.
If you’re like my husband and the idea of a fried egg *still* freaks you out, don’t fear! This pasta dish is fabulous on its own or topped with sliced, grilled chicken or veggies. As a lover of fried eggs, I strongly encourage you to try it before you knock it. The still runny yolk melds with the light cheese sauce to create an ethereal creaminess reminiscent of carbonara.
Spicy Garlic Fried Egg Pasta
(serves 2 – adapted from America’s Test Kitchen: Cooking for Two)
2 + 1 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2lb whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best, but from the shaker works too!)
2 large eggs, cracked into a small bowl
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Salt & pepper to taste
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large stock pot. Immediately before adding the pasta to the pot, stir in the kosher salt (why not earlier? to avoid ‘pitting’!) Place pasta in pot and cook to al dente according to package instructions.
While the pasta cooks, in a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Add pepper flakes and minced garlic, and saute for 30 seconds. Immediately transfer the garlic pepper oil mixture to a small bowl or ramekin and set aside.
Return the skillet to the burner and heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to a shimmer. Add eggs and lightly season with salt and pepper. Fry for 90 seconds, flip gently and fry the other side for 90 seconds. This will allow for the white to fully set, but the yolk to be runny. Transfer eggs to a plate (tip: line it with foil for easy clean up!)
Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce. Return pot with drained pasta back to the stovetop and turn burner to low. Add garlic pepper oil to the pasta and toss. Once completely coated, add parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water. Toss to combine. If the parmesan doesn’t begin to melt after about a minute, add the remaining pasta water to the pot.
Divide the pasta between two dinner bowls,, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and top each with a fried egg.