Angel Hair Pasta w/ Chile Lemon & Arugula

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is- How do you do it all? Oh man… THIS QUESTION. The answer is….I DON’T & can’t! Every week looks different in my life. Some weeks are super challenging (ahem, this one!) and I don’t usually share the bad because the internet is my happy place.  My goal here is to inspire people and I don’t think I’d inspire anyone if I complained about how I spaced and forgot to make a credit card payment or how I can’t seem for the LIFE of me to clean up the inside of my car. Maybe you want to hear that. I dunno. That being said let’s talk a little bit about balance.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Balance is difficult to attain. I’m not very good at it. Ever since I had a Cooper I don’t think I have the ability to give 100% to anything in my life and it bugs me most of the time. Do you moms know what I’m saying? Raise your hand if you’re behind on laundry too!

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

I am good at balancing my food, though. I’m not talking about setting a pineapple on top of my head and walking to the other side of the room with it. Nope. I’m talking….like one day I eat coffee cake for breakfast lunch & dinner and then the next few days I eat salads & juice like a crazy woman.  That’s how I excel at balancing.

This pasta is a good balance because it appeals to me- the ARUGULA lover and to Casey the PASTA lover. He, of course gets a plate that’s heavy on the pasta and I get a plate heavy on the arugula…depending how many cookies I ate that day. It was 6. OK. 7. Extra arugula for me. The only problem we found with this recipe is that it’s so light, you might find yourself eating 3 portions in one sitting. Maybe that’s just a sign that it’s GOOD.

And we’re off!

It all starts with BREADCRUMBS! Toast them in some olive oil in a pan. Takes about 10 minutes.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Get your ingredients together.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula


angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

The flavor makers.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Let’s make some garlic chile oil. Clean out your pan and put it all in there. Let it stew in the heat.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Cook your pasta! Add the garlic chile oil. STIR!

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Add the bread crumbs & lemon zest. STIR!

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Throw that arugula in. More stirring. I’m sure your hands are tired…wait…I think you’re just hungry.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Put the pasta on a platter. Squeeze the lemon on top.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Top with cheese, pepper & salt.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

Serve it up, serve it up, YO. Why am I thinking of Jesse from Breaking Bad now? AHHHH.

angel hair pasta w/ chile lemon & arugula

This is how we balance.

Angel Hair Pasta w/ Arugula & Lemon

serves 4-6

(recipe slightly adapted from Tyler Florence Family Meal: Bringing People Together Never Tasted Better)

  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, silvered
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • grated zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 6 cups lightly packed baby or wild arugula
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

In a skillet, combine the panko with 2 tablespoons of the oil and toss to combine. Toast over medium heat, stirring, until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes. season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a small bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 10 to 12 minutes to infuse the oil and gently cook the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon zest and remove from the heat.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until al dente. Drain the pasta well, and transfer to a large bowl. Immediately add the arugula, the infused oil with the garlic, and the bread crumbs. Use tongs to gently toss everything together. Mound the pasta on a large platter, squeeze lemon juice on top and serve, topping with grated Parmesan as desired.

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  • April 4, 2012

    Your pics have me drooling! This looks phenomenal!

  • April 4, 2012

    This needs to appear in my kitchen soon. Love it!

  • April 4, 2012

    Yum! I can not wait to try this out :) xo

  • Mel
    April 4, 2012

    I read your post today and besides Pinning the food (which I do from your site…a LOT) I wanted to just say thanks for blogging. Even if your days get crazy, you are putting a lot of awesome out there and this is one of my favorite blogs as a result. I check it every day on my google reader feed, and enjoy every entry.

    I don’t know why I felt the need to say that, but I know that people often complain quicker than they think to appreciate, and so I wanted to say, again, thanks for doing this blog. It’s awesome and I’ve made and learned so many recipes from your blog that I still use regularly.

    That being said, now I’m hungry and want pasta! :)

    • Mel
      April 4, 2012

      I also just realized from my icon that I also have an obsession with taking photos of my feet, so maybe I also feel like we’re kindred spirits in that weird, foot picture taking way. ;)

  • This looks absolutely divine! Love your pictures!
    Balance is btw totally overrated. Just like laundry. I crossed these words out of my dictionary and I bookmarked chocolate pie at the same time {, yo}.

  • April 4, 2012

    Oh my goodness, YES. And I just picked up some arugula yesterday!

  • April 4, 2012

    Hi Tracy, I’ve been silently following your blog for quite some time now…yet, as an Italian (and you know, Italiy and pasta is a strong association!;) I felt I had to tell you this. Next time try to do it the other way round, i.e. the pasta in the pan with the oil and then add the rest of the ingredients. May seem a detail but the the pasta will soak up much better the different flavours!
    Keep up with the excellent blogging!

    Ps. talking about inspiring people, your wall of art has definitely inspired my “soon to be there” wall of art!

    • April 4, 2012

      I totally get it. I would have done it…..BUT….I used the teeniest skillet for those breadcrumbs & oil….there’s NO WAY a pound of pasta would have fit in there. Next time!

  • Katherine
    April 4, 2012

    Tracy- You need to give yourself more credit, but I know that is easier said than done. I always feel the same way about my inability to balance. It feels like we are not giving 100% but in reality we are giving 150%. Keep up the good work. You inspire me all the time with your recipes and pictures.

    Oh and p.s.-I am way behind on my laundry.

  • April 4, 2012

    The perfect summer pasta. Thanks!

  • April 4, 2012

    I heart arugula. This looks so fluffy and delicious!

  • April 4, 2012

    Love the photo of the dried pasta! I would also like to steal the plate in the first photo!

    • April 4, 2012

      I’ll happily GIVE you a plate. No stealing needed.

  • Tiff
    April 4, 2012

    Your photos are beautiful Tracy! Great job! Making this very soon!

  • April 4, 2012

    Definitely nom worthy! I wholeheartedly agree with your strategy of filling your carbolicious pasta with healthylicious (definitely a word) arugula (did you know in the UK they call baby argula Rocket? Maybe it is supposed to propel you to healthytown?!). I love putting greens in my pasta, so I look forward to trying this! Thanks again!

    • April 4, 2012

      I love that it’s called Rocket in the UK. I also love the aubergine thing. Totally into it.

  • April 4, 2012

    You should do a High Straightenance post about car cleaning! That could be the assignment that motivates you to create a way to maintain a clean car. :)

    And, yeah, the inability to give 100% to anything nearly drives me mad. My son is almost two now and I’m almost starting to get over it… but I don’t think I’ll ever get 100% over it.

    • April 4, 2012

      It’s totally on my list! But I keep going… “this is not the week for it!”
      I’ll accomplish it right after I finish my kitchen!

  • jenny
    April 4, 2012

    yum! can’t wait to make this. and let me echo what some of the other commenters have said: that I’m amazed by your dedication to this blog and love the fact that I can check most days and find a new, inspiring, delicious entry. your happy place = mine, too! :)

  • Carly
    April 4, 2012

    I was lying in bed with my son last night. He had had the flu for two days so I was hoping that he’d go to bed easily so I could get out for a run. Instead, I spend the next two hours running with him back and forth to the bathroom. I was so frustrated that, yet again, my commitment to myself had to take a backseat to the kids, but the pathetic look on his face and his desperate need for his mama certainly helped make it a little easier. Just the reality of parenting, I guess.

    My suggestion on the clean car is do go at it full force, then commit to keeping it clean. I love having a clean car. When I get out fo the car with the kids, the toys and snacks come in and I do a quick pick up of any rogue Cheerios, raisins, etc. I make a consious effort to bring any accumulated crap into the house with me so I’m forced to deal with it and the car stays clean.

    This pasta looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it!

    PS. We do laundry on Friday night (woo hoo!) and never get around to folding it until Sunday night when someone has run out of something (usually me and underwear).

    • April 4, 2012

      Thanks for your tips!
      Cooper has had a fever all week and a persistent cough so I’m feeling you on that front!

      I think the problem is that I DON’T WANT to bring the crap into my house. But I need to force myself to deal with it. I love the fact that Cooper does art projects at school but they are starting to overwhelm me! I just need to do it.

      And your Friday night laundry…well that’s my Tuesday or Thursday situation…and then we don’t get around to folding it until the following week…sometimes! HAHA. Thank you for putting your reality on me. I appreciate it.

      • Carly
        April 4, 2012

        There is NOTHING wrong with throwing out some art projects. I usually bring them home and put them on the counter. If no one has mentioned them during the evening, I go through them after bedtime, pull out anything that stands out (developmentally, creatively, etc.) and recycle the rest. I have a small pile of each kids’ stuff from each year.

  • April 4, 2012

    Looks delicious! I rarely make pasta but this sounds like a great way to use the arugula I’m attempting to grow.

  • April 4, 2012


  • April 4, 2012

    Your above shot of the uncooked pasta noodles = LOVE!

    This sounds so delicate and tasty, a perfect springtime dish! Thank you :)

  • April 4, 2012

    This looks so easy and like a perfect weeknight meal. A little spice, a little crunch…oh yes.

  • Sandra Lea
    April 4, 2012

    One word . . . YUM. The simplest meals are the most delicious. And we don’t want you to share the bad, we just think we do because you’re not sharing it. It’s not that nobody cares but that’s why we love Shutterbean, to get away from our own bad.

  • kim
    April 4, 2012

    this looks so good!

  • April 4, 2012

    Yum! That looks amazing! Going to try it this week!

  • April 4, 2012

    Stunning photos. I absolutely love arugula. Thanks for this!

  • April 4, 2012

    I might sent you a picture of my laudry pile later tonight…

    I think balance is overrated, but I love the wat you balance your plate.

    Great recipe and great pix!

  • April 4, 2012

    My mouth is watering at these pics! I know what you mean about being so light you eat multiple portions. I always have the problem with angel hair. Plus it often sticks together a bit, so then you eat a happy clump of noodles all at once.

  • April 4, 2012

    I make a very similar pasta dish, the difference is I don’t add bread crumbs. This looks so good though, your pictures make me want to eat. Not good! Well, not good being that I just ate! lol

    And we can’t do it all. I know it seems like you do (online) but like you said, why go to your happy place just to complain more? That’s what husbands are for aren’t they? ;)

  • hellywelly
    April 4, 2012

    i love how artful the photo is of the angel hair. looks like a flower or those fiber optic wands i would get at the ice capades shows in the 80s.

  • Amanda
    April 4, 2012

    This looks heavenly, so fresh yet also comforting! Thanks for another delightful recipe. Oh PS- the ONLY time I get caught up on laundry is when my Mom comes to visit :) You are not alone!

  • heather
    April 4, 2012

    this looks delish. can’t wait to try it.

  • April 4, 2012

    This looks amazing! We used to do a similar pasta aglio e olio with spinach, but I think arugula sounds like a much better choice. I will have to get my hands on some angel hair & arugula in the near future…

  • Miranda
    April 4, 2012

    This post made my heart smile. I guess it’s just reassuring to know that even the people who seem to the outside world like they have their stuff together still have to deal with the difficulties of daily life. It reminds you that we’re all human and we’re all in the same boat.

    Thanks so much for the great post and great comments on the flexibility of balance!

  • April 4, 2012

    Looks amazing! I want to make this with spaghetti squash :)

  • April 4, 2012

    Yum, I can see how one could take down a few portions of this, and I forgot how pretty angel hair pasta is! As for balance, I’m working on the other kind of it in my life…as in, I fall on my ass way too often.

  • Alara was sick with a fever last week, it really does make things a bit more difficult! I know you are doing all that you can!
    I am constantly behind on my laundry, I absolutely hate folding!!!

    This looks great! I’ll be making it when my glutenfree husband isn’t around!!!

  • April 5, 2012

    Oh my. I just posted a super tasty collard green pasta recipe similar to this, and I am obsessed with arugula so I can’t wait to make your version!

  • April 5, 2012

    I love…that angel hair pasta picture. So wacky but wonderful.

  • April 5, 2012

    Looking awesome, thanks for the share !!

  • April 6, 2012

    Ahhhhmahaaagaaaah. This looks amazing. And I just ate lunch. And I’m drooling.

  • April 6, 2012

    I love the idea of adding breadcrumbs to pasta. I’m going to try this asap.

  • Lisa
    April 7, 2012

    Hi Tracy, I made this tonight and added jumbo prawns. The whole family loved it! Thanks for all the great recipes keep them coming. I use one of your recipes at least once a week when I plan my menu.

    • April 8, 2012

      What a great addition! Thanks for trying it out Lisa. I’m glad you and your family loved it!

  • April 7, 2012

    Dude. That looks like totally good and s*%#. (Jesse!)

    Ok, but for reals this looks amazing.


  • dana828
    April 8, 2012

    Making this tonite (with chicken paillard on the side) for a totally non-traditional Easter dinner. Hope it’s so amazingly good that the husband forgives me for not making ham.

  • Kim
    April 11, 2012

    Made this last night… tossed some halved grape tomatoes into the garlic oil to warm up before adding the pasta/breadcrumbs. So good!

  • Jayne
    April 13, 2012

    Tracy. You got me hooked on Pintrest! You! And I just pinend my very first picture from your site to my board ie, this before-lunch-hunger-inducing recipe. I’m gonna make this stat.

  • Colleen
    April 16, 2012

    Thanks for this post- I read it on the 4th but am just now commenting! I appreciate your positive posts and as a mom to a 3 year old and now a 6 week old and as a working mom in the Bay Area, I enjoy your creative & humorous posts! As much as misery loves company- sometimes I think it makes it worse. So thanks for all that you do– I have tried to start a blog since 2008– it is on my list for 2012 :).

  • April 17, 2012

    Any pasta that starts with toasted bread crumbs is my kind of pasta. This sounds so light and refreshing for a patio dinner as we transition into warmer days!

    BTW, somehow I am just now discovering your blog. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks beautiful around here. Excited to read more!

  • Jenn
    April 18, 2012

    Made this tonight and had to resist eating it straight from the pot after my first bowl! So quick and a bit fancy – thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  • kate
    May 14, 2012

    I just made this tonight, and it was fantastic!! I served it with socca and red wine…I swear this meal had wonderful healing powers to erase the awful start to my week (that could be the wine talking, but I totally credit the pasta, too). I love your recipes & photography–your blog is awesome!

  • heather
    May 24, 2012

    Been wanting to make this for some time, but really felt the urge after hearing all of the hub bub with tflo. It was great. both my kids loved it too. Thanks for the great recipe, and for your fantastic podcast.

    • Tracy
      May 24, 2012


  • Amy
    May 25, 2012

    Just made this- delicious! Even without the parm (though I did add some homemade vegan parm-type stuff on top). There are few foods I like more than a big bowl of pasta, but I’m glad when I can work some greens in there too- thanks for posting this! :)

  • June 5, 2012

    i’ve been waiting to make this forever, and i only had a short time to get dinner on the table tonight. love, love, love it. thanks tracy!

  • Lauren
    June 16, 2012

    I made this last night! This is going to be my go summer pasta dish! I kept thinking of the whole TyTyFloFlo sitch while I was cooking. good times.

  • June 17, 2012

    I love your pictures. I made this and was very happy with how it turned out. Beautiful, refreshing and a definite crowd pleaser.

  • Claire P.
    June 19, 2012

    I read your blog faithfully, but I’ve never actually tried any of your recipes . . . until now! After hearing you talk about this on the podcast, I sent my husband out to find arugula. It is AMAZING! I’ve been eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. YUM! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes now. :)

  • June 25, 2012

    I have made this pasta so many times…such a big hit! I love that its easy and yet the flavors are bold. Love reading the blog, you are so inspiring!!

  • Mel
    July 1, 2012

    Ok, I made this today and it was great! My CSA has been giving us arugula, and this was a fantastic use of it.

  • Patty Cuoco-Schoen
    March 26, 2014

    I made this exactly as directed and could not eat it. I am a well seasoned Italian cook and found this to be so dry and not much taste. So disappointed.

    • Tracy
      March 31, 2014

      Oh no! I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it when I made it :(

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