Spaghetti alla puveriello

You are in for a treat, my friend.

I saw this recipe last summer on television when I was in Italy. While there are many versions of this dish (Mark Bittman has his own), I think that this pasta is best served at its simplest expression: without any added meat, vegetables or fuss.

Spaghetti alla puveriello, poor man’s spaghetti, is simply pasta served with ”fried eggs” and a few aromatics. This is where I got my idea for spaghetti with sausage, zucchini and a fried egg a few months back.

I think the key to making a great dish out of this very simple recipe is in the preparation. You don’t really want to fry your eggs, but rather, you use the yolks as the base to create a wonderful, luscious and bright yellow sauce. You just fry the egg whites, actually.

I experimented a bit with this recipe in the past few months and I have to admit that here, the simpler the better. This pasta sauce can be used as a base for other sauces, and use your imagination to transform it into something else. Adding bacon here is quite tempting I must say but try this basic recipe as is and enjoy eating eggs like you have never had them before.

Poor man’s spaghetti

For one serving, you will need:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, whole
1 pinch red hot pepper flakes
2 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
100 g spaghetti
salt to taste


1. Start by putting water to boil to cook your pasta. When the water boils, add a good amount of salt and drop your pasta in. The sauce will be ready by the time your pasta is done.
2. Put a skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil and the garlic clove. Cook the garlic clove until it starts to brown then discard.
3. Add the red hot pepper flakes and turn the heat to low. Add the egg whites with a pinch of salt and leave them undisturbed until they are cooked through. You want them to be quite supple and soft, not crusty. Think of silk ribbons flowing through the pasta.
4. Drain the spaghetti one minute before it is al dente and reserve about half a cup cooking water.
5. Add the spaghetti to the skillet along with the egg yolks, the parmesan and a few tablespoons of cooking water and mix well with tongs or with two wooden spoons, cutting and breaking up the eggs whites as you go along. Add more water as you stir, just enough to get a smooth, silky and rich sauce. Add a pinch of salt at the end if it needs it and serve in warm bowls.

Spaghetti alla puveriello

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