Salerno-Style Spaghetti

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Dinner, Main Course Italian
By Cook's Illustrated Serves: 4
Prep Time: ~25 Minutes Cooking Time: ~15 Minutes Total Time: ~40 Minutes

A simple recipe, Salerno-Style Pasta ups the ante with breadcrumbs, parsley and a fried egg, which tops each serving like a golden crown.


  • Toasted Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • Garlic Oil
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 medium Garlic Cloves, pressed or minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • Salerno-Style Spaghetti
  • 1 lb. Spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (or one tablespoon table salt, or Morton's Kosher), for the Pasta Water
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • ~1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for serving if desired
  • 1/4 cup Minced Fresh Parsley
  • Eggs
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 Large Eggs, cracked into 2 small bowls (2 eggs per bowl)
  • Sprinkle Kosher Salt and Black Pepper


Toasted Panko Breadcrumbs


Get a 12-inch nonstick pan heating over medium-low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. When the pan is hot, toss in 1/2 cup of panko with a sprinkling of kosher salt. Toss or stir the panko occasionally and toast until the breadcrumbs are an even golden color. Transfer to a small dish and set aside.

Garlic Oil


Get a large pot with 4 quarts of water to boil.


In that same 12-inch nonstick pan you used to toast the panko, over low heat, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil with the garlic, red pepper flakes and kosher salt. Stir the mixture and cook until the garlic is straw colored. Be sure to not let the garlic get too golden or toasted.


Transfer the garlic oil to a small bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet, we will use it later for the eggs.

Salerno-Style Spaghetti


When the water is boiling add, two tablespoons of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (or one tablespoon table salt, or Morton's Kosher). Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente, likely about 9 minutes. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, transfer out 1.5 cups of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta.


Meanwhile, get that 12-inch nonstick set over low heat. Let the skillet slowly warm up while we finish the pasta.


Pour the drained spaghetti back into the pot. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the pasta, pour in the garlic oil, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to combine. Add the chopped parsley and 2 teaspoons kosher salt and stir. Add 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water and continue stirring vigorously to melt the cheese and fully coat the pasta, creating a creamy sauce. Cover to keep the pasta warm while we make the eggs.



Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into the skillet if making 4 eggs, 1 tablespoon if making 2 eggs. Swirl the oil to coat the pan. Then, at the same time (one bowl in each hand if making four eggs) pour the cracked eggs into the skillet. Sprinkle the eggs with a little kosher salt and black pepper.


Fry the eggs until most of the whites are cooked. then remove from heat and cover the pan.



While the egg whites finish cooking, to the pasta, stir in as much of the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the pasta to a smooth, creamy consistency. Use tongs to transfer each serving to shallow wide bowls.


Uncover the eggs and use a nonstick-safe spatula to separate the eggs if you've made more than one. Then transfer each egg to top each serving of Salerno-Style Spaghetti.


Then top each serving with a generous sprinkling of the toasted panko breadcrumbs.