I guess the red pepper flakes and lemon set off the flavor of the arugula, but the texture and taste of the dish was great.
I think the panko bread crumbs helped make the pasta taste delicious while it offered a different taste to pasta that I had never tasted before. I had never eaten pasta with panko before, but hopefully there will be more recipes that include the two ingredients together.
Also, I usually don't like lemon and pasta together, but, again, I loved the taste that these ingredients created.
And, lastly, if you're like me, I always doubt the amount of pasta that is called for in recipes. So many times a recipe calls for a pound or so of pasta and it turns out that there is wayyy too much pasta for the amount of sauce or other ingredients stirred into the pasta. It just tastes bland, but one pound of angel hair really was the perfect amount for this recipe.
Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon and Arugula
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, slivered
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 lb. angel hair pasta
6 cups lightly packed baby or wild arugula
grated Parmesan cheese
Combine panko with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir every couple of minutes until bread crumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl.
Heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in the same skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 10-12 minutes to infuse the oil and cook the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon zest and remove the oil mixture from heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook 3-4 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and transfer to a large bowl. Immediately add the arugula, infused oil with garlic, and the bread crumbs. Gently toss everything together with tongs. Squeeze the lemon juice on top of the pasta and serve with grated Parmesan.