Why It Works
- This no-cook sauce is really just a simple vinaigrette that highlights the savory depth of colatura.
- Vigorously tossing the pasta, colatura vinaigrette, and pasta water in a large bowl creates a creamy emulsion that coats the spaghetti.
- Toasted breadcrumbs strengthen the emulsion and also provide a hint of crunch.
This pasta dish is the the headstrong, wild umami bomb sibling to traditional aglio e olio. It might be even easier to make, as the sauce is essentially a no-cook vinaigrette that highlights colatura, a specialty aged Italian fish sauce that packs some serious savory seafood flavor in a very small package. You'd be hard-pressed to find a dish that delivers as much of a flavor payload with as little effort or time as this one. It'll knock your weeknight dinner socks off, trust us.
- 1/4 cup (18g) panko breadcrumbs
- 5 tablespoons (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound (450g) dried spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) Colatura, plus extra as needed (see note)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
In a small skillet, combine breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer breadcrumbs to a small bowl, and season lightly with salt. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven or medium pot, bring 3 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti to water and cook, stirring frequently during the first minute to prevent pasta from sticking. Cook pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a very large bowl, combine colatura, garlic, and pepper flakes. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, followed by 2 tablespoons (30ml) pasta water, to form an emulsion.
Transfer pasta to bowl along with another 1/2 cup (120ml) pasta water and parsley. Vigorously toss and stir pasta to emulsify sauce and coat with noodles. Add breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Pasta should be well-coated with creamy, emulsified sauce. If it seems dry, add extra pasta water, 1 tablespoon (15ml) at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
Add lemon zest and taste pasta for seasoning, adding a final splash of colatura if needed. Serve immediately.
The success of this recipe hinges upon the unique flavor of colatura, an Italian fish sauce made in the Amalfitano town of Cetara. Colatura tastes very different from high quality Southeast Asian fish sauce, and unfortunately, one cannot be substituted for the other. If you don't want to spring for Colatura, I would recommend making the sister dish to this pasta instead, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.
Make-Ahead and Storage
This quick and easy dish is best enjoyed immediately.