This is a super easy week night dinner idea, it's taken me a few goes to get the balance of lemon right in this dish but I found in the process of testing it the addition of crunchy toasted breadcrumbs and the finely chopped rocket add a great extra dimension to the flavours. You can omit the bacon totally if you like, or alternatively use prawn or shrimp or even fresh crab thrown in at the end when tossing the oil and pasta together. If you want to make this vegetarian just omit the bacon altogether. These are some of my favourite flavour combos ~ lemon + chilli + free-range bacon, for me = simple pasta heaven on a plate.
2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
Zest + juice of 1 lemon
Handful of flat leaf parsley very finely chopped
1 handful of rocket finely chopped
1 small brown onion
3 large cloves of garlic
250g lean free range bacon finely diced
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/3 cup of olive oil plus extra for cookin
400g dried spaghetti
Fresh Parmesan, grated, to serve
Salt + freshly ground pepper
Half fill a large saucepan with cold water, add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the breadcrumbs followed by the lemon zest and season with a pinch of salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Toss the breadcrumbs in the pan often until toasted and lightly golden brown ~ this will take 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, when cool add the parsley and rocket and set aside. Wipe any excess crumbs from the pan using paper towel and return to medium heat.
While pasta is cooking, add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan then add the onion and garlic and fry over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Add the bacon, mix then fry all together for a further 6-7 minutes, stirring often until bacon is golden and crisp. Transfer to a bowl.
Add spaghetti to the pot of boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes until al dente (or as per your packet instructions).
Return frying pan to cooker for a third time and set over low-medium heat. Pour 1/3 cup olive oil along with the lemon juice and chilli flakes into the bacon and stir all together to combine. Add to the frying pan taking care as it can splatter if pan is too hot. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes to infuse flavours, stirring occasionally.
Check pasta and if cooked al dente/to your liking turn off heat on both pasta pot and frying pan. Using tongs drain pasta directly into the frying pan along with 2-3 tablespoons of pasta water. Incorporate bacon and pasta together using tongs until well combined then add half the pangrattato and quickly combine.
Transfer into 4 individual serving bowls or one large platter, top with lot of grated Parmesan and finally scatter the remaining pangrattato on top. Serve immediately.