Five-Seed Loaves

2015 Blog September-0394Growing up, my sister and I ate a lot of reasonably healthy food. Mom wasn’t the “crunchy granola type,” especially not by the time my sister showed up, but her waffle recipe involved wheat germ, and my lunchtime sandwich bread always had a measure of whole wheat in it. When I got a little older, it seemed like the more seeds and nuts a loaf contained, the more likely my mom was to buy it. Nine grains? Hearty nuts and seeds? R. and I wouldn’t always eat it, but it was probably in our freezer.

2015 Blog September-0359Thus I felt a certain fondness when I started to consider this month’s Twelve Loaves assignment of seed breads. I knew I wanted multiple seeds, and I knew I wanted them on the inside and outside of my loaves. A bit of internet research led me to Suzanne’s lovely little site Flour Arrangements, and even if she hadn’t had a great seeded loaf recipe to work with and adapt, I would have been enticed by her blog’s clever title (not the mention how many great sounding loaves she’s made – I can’t wait to adapt her multigrain pumpkinseed loaf as the weather cools – I’m thinking of adding some pumpkin puree and rye flour, and maybe some oatmeal).

2015 Blog September-03642015 Blog September-0366I kept her recipe mostly the same, only replacing oil with butter and adding a few additional seeds for a total of five: sesame, poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, and flax.

2015 Blog September-03672015 Blog September-0369I’ve been baking mainly sourdough loaves lately, trying different ratios of starter and flour, comparing notes with S. about various stirring or folding techniques instead of kneading the dough, tipping in just enough whole wheat flour to make a nutty loaf that isn’t too dense, and getting used to long, slow rise times and overnight rests in the refrigerator to develop a tangier sour flavor. Imagine my delight, then, when my bowl of dough, bolstered by its full tablespoon(!) of yeast, agreeably puffed enough to press against its plastic wrap lid in a little over an hour. Not only that, but after carefully pressing and rolling the lovely tight loaves I’d formed through a jumble of seeds, they swelled again in their pans to triumphant heights. Sourdough is delicious and tends to be my go-to for everyday toast, but it is an exercise in patience and in long-term benefits. These loaves, though they do require two rises, expand so eagerly it feels like a reward for a job well done.

2015 Blog September-0376And really, these are a reward. Yes, the seeds you’ve so carefully pressed into the surface of the dough go everywhere – when you turn the baked loaves out of the pans, when you slice into them, when you bag and store them – but those that stay affixed offer a really nice set of flavors and textures. The heat and time in the oven toasts and crisps them lightly, and the flax seeds in particular take on a roasted taste and a slippery crunch I find incredibly appealing. And that’s just the surface. Inside, the crumb is tender and light and barely sweet, as soft as a commercially made pre-sliced loaf, but with the hearty, toasty, wholesome feel and flavor that comes with homemade.

2015 Blog September-0384You could certainly trade out the seeds here if you wanted – caraway would give a stronger anise-y feel, tiny nigella or black onion seeds would make for a more savory flavor, maybe good for meat or tomato based sandwiches. But I am devoted to sweet breakfast toast, and this bread, toasted or not, welcomes salted butter and cinnamon sugar so nicely I must admit I never explored beyond that combination.

2015 Blog September-0390

Five-Seed Loaves
Adapted from Seeded Wheat Bread on Flour Arrangements
Makes 2 9×5 inch loaves
4-5 hours, approximately (including rising/resting time)
¾ cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
pinch white sugar
1 ½ cups warm milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
5 tablespoons poppy seeds, divided
5 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided
3 tablespoons very soft or melted butter
¼ cup molasses
1 tablespoon salt
3-4 cups bread flour
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons flax seeds

 

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a large bowl if you aren’t using a mixer, combine the warm water with the yeast and the pinch of sugar. Stir and let it sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture smells bread-like and the yeast has foamed up a bit.
  • Add the milk, whole wheat flour, butter, molasses, and salt to the yeast mixture. Add two tablespoons each of the poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Mix with the paddle attachment or with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  • With the mixer running on low speed, add the bread flour ½ cup at a time until you have a soft dough that pulls and tears away from the sides of the bowl. I needed all 4 cups of the flour, as it was a bit humid in my kitchen – you might need less depending on the day.
  • If you are using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. If you are mixing by wooden spoon, now is the time to turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes if you are working by machine, or about 7-8 minutes by hand, to form a smooth and elastic but still sticky dough. It will still droop and pull when you stop kneading, not sit firmly in a cohesive ball. That’s okay. This ensures a more tender loaf.
  • Lightly grease the sides of a large bowl (I just use the stand mixer bowl; you don’t even have to clean it out) and position your dough in the middle of it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled – 1½-2 hours, depending on how warm your house is.
  • As the rising period nears its end, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons poppy seeds, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, and the sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds on a baking tray. Butter or grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans and set aside.
  • Punch down the risen dough to release trapped gas by gently depressing your fist into its center, then turn it out onto a very lightly floured board (too much flour and the seeds won’t stick). Divide the dough in equal halves, shape into tight loaves and roll each one in seeds, turning to coat the ends, or just pushing a palmful of seeds against the ends of the loaves.
  • Set the seed-coated loaves gently in the prepared loaf pans, pat remaining seeds on top and drizzle down into the corners. Drape lightly with plastic wrap and let rise again for about 45 minutes, until doubled once more. They swell beautifully.
  • About twenty minutes before the rising period ends, preheat your oven to 375F. When the loaves are fully risen, remove the plastic wrap and place them gently into the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes. To test for doneness, either use a digital thermometer and check for a temperature between 180-200F, or thump the bottom lightly for a hollow sound.
  • Cool loaves in pans at least 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before slicing. At all manipulation, seeds will scatter everywhere, but the flavor and texture are worth the mess.

 

Check out what our other awesome Twelve Loaves bakers made this month, below:

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

Our host this month is Lora from Cake Duchess and our theme is Seeds. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!

For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s selection of #TwelveLoaves Malt Breads!

If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your Seed Bread using the hashtag #TwelveLoaves!

Reuben Meatballs

When I wax on about some deeply held, sentimental food memory, it’s usually in reference to one of the women in my family. My mom and my aunts are great cooks, my Nana was a powerhouse in the kitchen, and my sister is always my sounding board for dish ideas and inspiration.

2015 Blog August-0349But this one really originates from my dad. Dad doesn’t cook much. He is a master of coconut French toast, and he mans the grill for our family, but he isn’t often stirring a pot over the stove or pushing something into the oven. One of his specialties, though, is the reuben. He builds the sandwich, packs four of them tightly into my parents’ ancient, stained electric skillet, and somehow manages to flip each one perfectly.

2015 Blog August-0320When I was little, I though Dad had invented this sandwich. I mean, if you stop and think about it, it’s a strange collection of ingredients: corned beef and swiss cheese are reasonably normal, yes, but then you add a layer of sauerkraut and douse it with Russian or Thousand Island dressing straight out of the bottle? And dark rye is such a dad-bread, isn’t it? Only a dad would make you a school sandwich on rye bread. These reuben things must have been one of my dad’s concoctions – his own weird, elevated version of a grilled cheese sandwich.

2015 Blog August-03302015 Blog August-0336Imagine my astonishment, then, when I started seeing reubens on restaurant menus. This was a real thing! This wasn’t just a weird Dad-dish! I already liked reubens, as odd as I thought they were, but as an adult it’s hard for me to pass one up when it appears on a sandwich menu. One of our favorite haunts in Eugene had a tempeh version I’m working on recreating. I love a grilled sandwich, and the savory, meaty, melty business, along with the sagging pickle of the sauerkraut and the tangy sweetness of the dressing makes this worth the 5-6 napkins it usually requires.

2015 Blog August-0338It’s no great surprise, then, that reubens became an inspiration for a meatball. Here, I’ve borrowed and shifted a bit, but tried to capture the essential elements of the classic sandwich in these compact packages. Ground beef is lightly mixed with finely diced pastrami, a bit of ketchup and mayonnaise to echo the dressing, some roughly chopped capers or diced pickle, chopped dill, and, if you like (I don’t), a minimal sprinkle of caraway seeds as a nod to the traditional rye bread of the original sandwich.

2015 Blog August-03392015 Blog August-0343Though I originally thought of just jamming all the essentials into the meatball itself, I couldn’t imagine presenting this meatball in any other format than a sandwich. Thus, the cabbage, here lightly pickled rather than deeply brined (which, if you’re keeping track, needs to sit for a few hours before you make the sandwich), and the cheese, remain outside the meatball itself. As for the dressing, I spice up the original by adding sriracha and grated garlic to the standard ketchup and mayonnaise blend, and throw in some minced capers instead of the dill pickles. And I know, this is an affront to authenticity, but I couldn’t picture a quartet of meatballs sitting easily between two slices of rye bread, so I exchanged, keeping the depth of color but not the precise flavor, and went with a pretzel roll.

And if a regular pretzel roll isn’t enough for you, I found these at my Whole Foods:

2015 Blog August-0326That’s right, mini pretzel rolls. Pretzel roll meatball sliders. I know. But I couldn’t help myself.

2015 Blog August-0358Our assessment? These are some goooood meatballs. The bits of pastrami mixed in with the beef makes them incredibly flavorful, and you can definitely taste the dill and the mild pickled essence of the capers in the final product. I love the crispness of the cabbage – it’s not as strongly briny as sauerkraut, but it is bright with flavor and retains some texture, which is a nice addition. As we finished our sandwiches, N. turned to me and declared that these were his favorite meatball thus far. I asked him why, and he said “they’re just so… so savory!” So there you are. A most savory meatball, for my own twist on the ultimate dad-sandwich.

2015 Blog August-0355

Reuben Meatball Sandwiches
Makes 4 sandwiches or 16 sliders
For cabbage:
2 cups finely sliced or shredded red or green cabbage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon celery seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
For meatballs:
¼ cup minced red onion
1 pound ground beef (I recommend at least 85% lean, 15% fat. Less fat could result in a dry meatball)
¼ pound pastrami or corned beef, finely diced
2 tablespoons capers or dill pickles, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups beef or chicken broth
For sandwich:
4 pretzel rolls or rye rolls of about 8 inches in length, or 16 slider buns
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon sriracha, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely minced and then crushed into paste with the flat of a knife
2-3 tablespoons minced capers
black pepper to taste
sliced or grated swiss cheese (as much as desired for each sandwich)

 

  • In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with the other slaw ingredients: the salt, the sugar, the celery seeds, the vinegar, and then the olive oil. Let sit at room temperature for at least two hours, tossing occasionally, or refrigerate overnight.
  • For the meatballs, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions. Cook over medium-low heat until the onions are quite tender and just starting to take on some color – about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Combine remaining meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix lightly with your fingertips to combine evenly. The pastrami will want to stick together, so be sure to mix attentively so it integrates well. Add the onions last, once they’ve had time to cool.
  • Heat up 1-2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers and spreads easily, drop in a teaspoon of the meatball mixture, flatten it out, and fry about a minute on each side, or until cooked through. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper accordingly for the rest of the mix.
  • Wet your hands for less sticking, and roll the meat mixture into 16 meatballs of equal size – they will be somewhere between a walnut and a golf ball in diameter.
  • In the same large skillet in which you fried the tester, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. When it is shimmering and spreads easily in the pan, add the meatballs in a single layer, not touching one another (you will likely need to fry in two batches). Brown on all sides (about 2 minutes on each surface), then remove to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.
  • You will likely have a lot of residual fat in your skillet. Wipe it out (no need to wash – a paper towel will do) and then return it to the heat. Add the broth and bring it to a simmer, then carefully relocate the meatballs back into the skillet. You want enough broth to come about halfway up the meatballs. Clamp on the lid, turn the heat down to medium or medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes, turning each meatball once about halfway through.
  • While the meatballs simmer, start your sandwich construction. Split the rolls you’ll be using and scrape out some of the fluffy interior – we need to make room for the meatballs to nestle. Set the open rolls on a baking sheet and preheat your broiler.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup ketchup, the sriracha if desired, the pasted garlic and the finely minced capers. Add black pepper to taste. Spread about a tablespoon on each side of your sandwich rolls (or about a teaspoon, if you are using slider buns).
  • Pour off any liquid your lightly pickled cabbage may have exuded, then add a few tablespoons of the cabbage to one side of your sandwich roll, right on top of the sauce. Top the cabbage layer with a thin layer of swiss cheese.
  • When the meatballs are done, wedge four per sandwich (or 1 per slider) into the space you made by scraping out some of the roll’s interior. Top them with a thin layer of cheese as well, then carefully insert the baking tray of sandwiches into the broiler and cook, watching carefully, just until the cheese is nicely melted.
  • Squash the sandwich closed and serve immediately, ideally with a good, dark beer.

Bourbon vanilla pastry cream over pan-roasted stone fruit

2015 Blog August-0309After a few scrapped drafts of this post, both on the computer and in the kitchen, I’ve decided it’s basically a food representation of “To a Mouse” by Scottish poet Robert Burns. Though the title may not ring familiar, it contains perhaps the most famous – or at least well-known – line of his whole oeuvre: “the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley” or, if you’re not adept in 18th century Scottish diction, “often go awry.”

2015 Blog August-0265Things go awry. They just do. In this case, the inspiration, the trial run, the ingredient acquisition, and even the writing itself (there are two previous drafts of this post in my trash can that I never want to see again), all caused enough problems that this post almost didn’t happen.

2015 Blog August-0274But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up to bourbon. Through a conversation with a friend and former colleague on Facebook, I assigned myself a project: she said she’s been experimenting with bourbon dessert sauces, and wanted tips. In particular, she’s interested in a bourbon vanilla sauce that would be good served over ice cream and peaches. There had been texture and thickness and sweetness imbalances along the way, and I was immediately hooked on the challenge.

2015 Blog August-0278For the next month I took this sauce through a ridiculous number of mental transformations – at first it was going to be a riff on this nutmeg sauce, then it was going to be more like a caramel, and then it was going to be akin to a crème anglaise, thickened with egg and carefully tempered. Never mind that pouring what is essentially unfrozen, unchurned ice cream over a bowl of ice cream seems excessive.

2015 Blog August-0282The crème anglaise plan, though, went awry, as you might have suspected. I crawled out of the kitchen leaving behind a bowl of curdled weirdness that had used up the last few tablespoons of bourbon in the house and refused to think about it for a few days. It wasn’t an eggs scrambling problem. It was a two-fold issue, I think, of poorly managed temperature differences, and the fat in the sauce not getting along with the quantity of alcohol I added.

2015 Blog August-0285When I tried again, the sauce had, again, transformed. Now, in a house with limited air movement, during a patch of quite warm weather, as the sun slowly dripped across our roof, sauce seemed too fast-moving. As if echoing my own sluggishness in my appetites, I wanted something thick and smooth to dollop atop a piece of fruit. And I wanted it to be ice cold.

2015 Blog August-0307So I ended up with a pastry cream. This is not a sauce, B., even though that’s what you were after. It’s not particularly easy or quick, and it’s almost not even pourable. What it is, though, is rich, and cold, and thick, and strongly bourbon-y (so make sure you choose one you like!), and magnificent draped thickly over whatever stone fruit you happen to have. It’s also a good option for entertaining, because once it has been cooked it needs to chill for a few hours, which makes it very easy to casually slide it out of the fridge, spoon it thickly over a row of grilled or pan-roasted plums, or peaches, or apricots, and sit back down again before your guests really registered you were “making” dessert.

2015 Blog August-0308This, then, seems an apropos message for the week before the semester starts up again: things go wrong. They are going to go wrong. And then you have to decide what you’re going to do about it and work it out. So if you’re expecting hiccups, and imperfections, and requisite second takes, you’ll likely be calmer and cooler in the long run. Not a bad state of being in a heat wave or a first week of school. And if we’re being absolutely honest, having a new bottle of bourbon in the house during that week is not a bad state of being either. Just in case.

2015 Blog August-0318

Bourbon Vanilla Pastry Cream over Pan-Roasted Stone Fruit
Makes 2 – 2½ cups of cream
For the pastry cream:
2 cups half and half or 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons bourbon, divided
Pinch of salt
½ cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cold butter
For the roasted stone fruit:
1 whole plum OR ½ a peach OR 2-3 apricots per diner
1 tablespoon raw sugar per diner
Pinch ground black pepper, optional (best on plums, I think)
2 tablespoons butter

 

  • To make the pastry cream, heat the half and half (or milk and cream mixture), ¼ cup of the bourbon, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a bare simmer. We don’t want it to reach a full boil.
  • While the liquid mixture warms, whisk the egg yolks together with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl. Beat well until you can no longer feel any graininess from the sugar.
  • Whisk the cornstarch into the yolk and sugar mixture until all powder is gone and the mixture becomes thick and pale. It will take on a texture like melted ice cream.
  • When the milk mixture has come to a simmer, remove it from the heat and dribble about 2 tablespoons of it into the yolks, whisking furiously and continuously. This tempers the egg yolks – that is, heats them up just enough so that when they are added to the pot, they will be less likely to scramble.
  • Now, take a breath and a firm hold on your whisk, and pour the yolk mixture into the pot of milk, whisking continuously. Place the pot back over medium heat and continue to whisk until the mixture returns to a simmer. It will quickly become very thick – a bit like slightly diluted mayonnaise in texture – and take on a glossy sheen. The occasional big, sluggish bubble might emerge.
  • Once the mixture simmers, remove it from the heat and add in the vanilla, the remaining 2 tablespoons of bourbon, and the cold butter. Whisk continuously until the butter has melted in and everything is combined.
  • Pour the hot pastry cream through a fine sieve or mesh strainer into a bowl. Stir and push through with a spatula to catch any solid bits of egg or other unwelcome textural imperfections.
  • Place a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the hot pastry cream (this prevents it from developing a “skin” across the top) and deposit it in the refrigerator until well chilled. The finished product will be approximately the thickness of mayonnaise.
  • When dessert looms near, prepare the fruit. Cut each fruit in half and twist or cut out the pit. Set halves cut-side up and sprinkle the exposed flesh with the raw sugar, using about 1 tablespoon per serving (so if you’re serving peaches, you might want less fruit per person than if you’re serving apricots. Either way, evenly distribute 1 tablespoon of sugar per serving over the halves of fruit). Sprinkle on the pinch of black pepper, if using.
  • Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to accommodate all of the fruit halves. When it sizzles, add the fruit, cut-side down, and let it cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, until the sugar is well melted and has caramelized into the fruit.
  • Flip the fruit over so it is cut-side up and cook another 2 minutes, until the skin wrinkles and tears a bit. This will result in fruit that is warmed through, but still firm to the bite. If you like your fruit softer, cook a few minutes longer or cut into smaller pieces.
  • To serve, position the fruit cut-side up on a plate, and dollop on a few spoonfuls of the pastry cream. If you go back for seconds, consider letting a friend drive you home.

 

Arugula and Feta Pasta with Lemon Garlic Crumbs

2015 Blog August-0259I know what you must be thinking. I rhapsodize about meatballs, toss around semi-exotic ingredients you might have to go to multiple stores to obtain, advocate that you turn zucchini into noodles, and then disappear for almost three weeks with only a few photos to tide you over.

2015 Blog August-0227During those weeks, I must admit I didn’t cook much. We were traveling, making our annual pilgrimage to Oregon where we attended a wedding, stayed with good friends, single-handedly prevented the Cascadia quake by staying in a hotel that overlooked the ocean, N. bought a banjo, and I pulled a muscle in my back. (We also discovered the glory that is a chocolate stout float, but more on that in a few weeks.)

2015 Blog August-0237Not much makes you look forward to an eight-hour car ride less than having a pulled muscle in your lower back. Apart from trying to get comfortable and working to stay awake through the muscle relaxers I was taking (man do those things knock you out!), I sorted through what had become unexpectedly difficult to accomplish without the muscle just left of your spine: spitting out toothpaste without dribbling it down your front. Shimmying into a pair of shorts – your feet and ankles are suddenly so far away! Rolling over in bed. Hobbling across the street at a snail’s pace while the kindly drivers on either side regret waving you forward. Filling and then draining off a pot of pasta water.

2015 Blog August-0240Cooking, thus, when we got home, had to be simple at first, and required some of N.’s help for the parts that had become surprisingly heavy. Fortunately, I’d been hoping to repeat this simple little pasta dish: capellini, also known as angel hair, tangled together with lightly wilted arugula and salty crumbles of feta, topped with an aromatic, heavy dose of crunchy breadcrumbs flavored with garlic and lemon zest. The whole thing only uses two pans, it requires only a handful of ingredients, none particularly exotic, and it takes a mere twenty minutes or so to throw together, since most of the prep and cooking of the breadcrumbs can be done while you’re waiting for the pasta water to boil.

2015 Blog August-02422015 Blog August-0243

2015 Blog August-0246If you aren’t accustomed to having arugula in your fridge, you should be – it’s a wonderful go-to green for salads and a refreshingly different take on pesto. Delicate but peppery, it’s also called rocket and is one of my favorite salad bases. As for the topping, I’m using panko – those delightfully brittle shards that are Japan’s answer to the breadcrumb, and unquestionably my favorite type. You wouldn’t want them for your meatballs, where the goal is light, springy absorbency, but once toasted, they make an addictively perfect crisp topping for basically anything. Since they don’t taste like much, I’ve bumped up the flavor with lemon zest, a healthy bit of grated garlic, and some red pepper flakes for N., who likes that hit of warmth on the back of the throat.

2015 Blog August-0249Coming home at the beginning of August is a bittersweet proposition, because at once it means a glory of summer fruits and more vegetables at the Farmers’ Market than my market bag or my wallet can handle, but it also means the first day of classes looms ever closer on the horizon. And as nice as it is to be home, the fact that it will be at least another year before we see all the friends we just hugged goodbye is a pang quite different from my slowly healing back muscle. This week, then, we’ve covered a bit of the bitter, with the peppery greens and the briny sharpness of the cheese. Next week, inspired by a bourbon-loving friend I didn’t get to see on this trip, I want to make up for it with something sweet.

2015 Blog August-0252

Arugula and feta pasta with lemon garlic crumbs
Serves 4 very hungry diners, or 6 less hungry diners
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon grated garlic (from about 4 cloves)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 large or 2 small lemons)
8 ounces capellini or angel hair pasta
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large or 2 small lemons)
5-6 ounces baby arugula
4 ounces feta, crumbled

 

  • Heat a large, lidded pot of well-salted water over high heat. When it comes to a boil, add the capellini and cook according to package directions. While you wait for the water to boil, however, make the breadcrumbs and prep the other ingredients, as detailed below.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When it is shimmering, add the panko breadcrumbs, the salt, and the red pepper flakes. Toast over medium heat, stirring almost constantly to brown evenly and prevent burning.
  • When the crumbs are golden, which for me was about 2-3 minutes, add the grated garlic and lemon zest and stir well to evenly distribute. The zest and garlic will want to clump up, so stir assertively. Cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes until the mixture is fragrant and nicely browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • By now, your water should be close to or already boiling. Add the pasta and stir to submerge it. Cook with the lid off to al dente, following the package directions. As soon as the pasta is done, drain immediately into a colander or strainer.
  • Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the now-empty pasta pot and swirl it over medium-low heat to evenly coat the bottom of the pot. Add the lemon juice, then the pasta, and toss with tongs to coat evenly with oil and lemon juice.
  • Dump in the arugula and use the tongs to gently integrate it with the pasta. When the arugula is gently wilted, turn off the heat and sprinkle in the crumbled feta cheese. Use tongs again to toss so the cheese is evenly distributed.
  • Serve hot in large, shallow bowls, and top each serving with about 2 tablespoons of the crumbs.