Creamy Caesar Salad Pasta

September 12, 2022
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Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I’ve always loved Caesar salads, to the point where I’ll eat them in any form. I’m as into the grab-and-go style salad, with its pouches of dressing and bagged croutons, as I am the $20 version with baby gem lettuce tossed tableside. I've been eating Caesar salads all summer and have been looking for a way to carry that flavor over into the colder months ahead. So I took the best parts of a Caesar salad—AKA the dressing and croutons—and turned it into a creamy comforting bowl of pasta.

The ingredients in a classic Caesar dressing are primed to work as a luscious sauce with rich egg yolks, anchovies, Parmesan cheese, and mustard. Adding extra egg yolks and pasta water elevates the dressing to a noodle coating, slurp-inducing, pasta sauce. It’s very similar to the process of making a carbonara sauce but one that's been Caesar-ified. Olive oil fried bread crumbs complete the transformation, turning one of the world's most loved salads into a rich pasta.

The sauce is made in the blender, so no need for aggressive whisking to achieve that coveted silky emulsion, making this an ideal weeknight meal.

You can make the breadcrumbs in advance and use them beyond this recipe on top of roasted veggies, silky scrambled eggs, or any other pasta dish.

With a jar of prepared breadcrumbs and easy-to-find pantry staples, this is the perfect anytime cozy pasta. —Becca Jacobs

What You'll Need
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pasta
  • 1 pound bucatini or spaghetti
  • 1 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2- ounces tin of oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Breadcrumbs
  2. In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, add panko breadcrumbs and olive oil. Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring occasionally, until the majority of the crumbs are deep golden brown, about 8-12 minutes
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the lemon zest and grated garlic. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool and transfer to an airtight container to store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  1. Pasta
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  3. While the water is heating, prepare the sauce by adding pecorino romano, egg yolks, eggs, anchovy fillets, garlic, lemon juice, capers, pepper, and mustard to a blender. Blend on medium speed until a homogeneous liquid forms. Slowly add in the olive oil on a low speed to emulsify the sauce.
  4. When the water is boiling, add pasta and cook to al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
  5. When the pasta is ready, transfer back to the pot. Temper the sauce by slowly blending in 1/4 cup of pasta water. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss vigorously over low heat to combine. Add an additional 1/4 cup of pasta water to the pan and continue to stir until all the noodles are well coated and the sauce is glossy and smooth.
  6. Divide among four bowls and serve with a hearty sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs on top.

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