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The Easiest, Most Comforting Pasta Has Just 3 Ingredients

published Feb 25, 2020
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Credit: Sheela Prakash

Living on your own in New York City as a college student is thrilling; a student budget in New York City is not-so-thrilling. So, I embraced cooking on the cheap. And this spaghetti with fried eggs is something that has lasted beyond my broke-college-student days. It’s the most pantry-friendly, budget-friendly recipe I know — and it’s also totally comforting.

Spaghetti with Fried Eggs Is the Ultimate Pantry Pasta

I first came across this pasta recipe in my tattered copy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. This was my treasured cookbook all through my vegetarian college years — and I still lean on it heavily today. His Spaghetti with Fried Eggs is as simple as it sounds. It’s kind of a mashup between a couple of classic Italian pastas — aglio e olio and carbonara. You fry a couple of eggs in garlic-infused olive oil then toss them with spaghetti, breaking the eggs up in the process to form a creamy, rich sauce that’s got torn bits of crispy egg scattered throughout.

You’re almost sure to have the ingredients on hand and it’s great for any time of day. As a student, I’d make it quickly before heading into a long night of studying. As a new grad, I’d make it after coming home late or when I was too lazy to head to the grocery store. Now, I find myself making it more as a treat to myself and for a sense of nostalgia, whenever I need a stabilizing dose of simplicity and comfort.

Credit: Sheela Prakash

How to Make Spaghetti with Fried Eggs

You could probably make this dish by reading the recipe title alone — it’s that simple.

Make the pasta. You’ll start by bringing a pot of well-salted water to a boil for your pasta. Once the water is boiling, add dried spaghetti — about a quarter pound for one person and a half pound for two to achieve generous servings.

Prepare your eggs. Meanwhile, heat a few generous glugs of olive oil in a skillet (I like to use a well-seasoned cast-iron or nonstick to prevent the eggs from sticking, even though I am generous enough with the olive oil that they probably don’t stand a chance). The recipe calls for a couple of smashed cloves that you’ll later remove, but I like keeping the garlic in the finished dish so I just slice them and toss them in.

Once the garlic is sizzling and the kitchen starts to smell amazing, you’ll crack an egg or two into the pan and add a big pinch of red pepper flakes. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and let them fry until the whites are set but the yolks are still quite runny — they’ll continue to cook once the pasta is added.

Toss the spaghetti with the eggs. When the spaghetti is ready, you’ll drain it, add it to the skillet and toss it with the fried eggs, breaking them up as you go. Then all that’s left to do is pile it into a bowl, grate plenty of Parmesan cheese on top, and dig in.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti with Fried Eggs from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman