Parsley Pasta

Parsley and Fried Egg Pasta

Like pulling doves out of an empty top hat, this pasta is one of those “something from nothing” dishes that comes together like magic. It goes to show that your fridge can be virtually empty, save a scrap of cheese, a lonely egg, and some garnish and you can turn it into a wholesome meal that tastes as good as it looks.

For me, that something from nothing magic is what pasta is all about. Sure, those sugos and ragus can be tasty, but at the end of the day, how often do you have time to simmer a sauce for hours?

Fried egg on parsley pasta

Here are three key things to remember that will make or break this dish (as well as most simple pastas).

  1. Make sure the water you’re boiling your pasta in is adequately salted. Your pasta should taste lightly salted when it comes out of the water. This requires a lot more salt in the water than you might imagine, certainly more than the pinch that many people add. This above anything is the secret to a flavorful pasta, especially when you’re not covering it in sauce. Until you get a good sense of the amount of salt you need to add to the water, it would be best to get a spoon and taste the water once the salt has dissolved. It shouldn’t be quite as salty as seawater, but it should be saltier than a soup.
  2. The second thing is to cook the pasta al dente. I know that some people prefer their pasta soft, but in a sauceless pasta, the pasta IS the dish. Since there’s no meat or other substantial elements to give it texture, if you boil your pasta until mushy, you’ll have a mushy dish. Like any food, pasta continues to cook after you remove it from the heat source, so it’s important to drain it just before it’s perfect. For a 9 minute spaghetti, I usually drain it at 8 minutes and let it finish cooking as I toss it with the other ingredients.
  3. The last thing may sound really obvious, and I know I say it a lot, but use good ingredients. Without a sauce to gloss over the rough spots, the quality of each ingredient counts. In this case, the most important ingredient is the olive oil. Use one that is full bodied, yet smooth, something that you would enjoy dipping bread in.

Parsley Pasta Recipe

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    Parsley Pasta
  • A simple herbal pasta topped with a fried egg, perfect for a quick weeknight meal.
ServingsPrep TimeCook Time
2 2 minutes 8 minutes


  • 250 grams dried spaghetti
  • 25 grams flat leaf parsley just the leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 40 grams Parmigiano-Reggiano grated


  1. Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil and boil the pasta until a bit before it's perfect.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry the parsley before mincing it. Wet parsley tends to clump and will be hard to distribute evenly in the pasta.
  3. When the pasta is a few minutes away from being done, heat a pan and fry the eggs using 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. When the pasta is done, drain it well, return it to the pot, and toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the minced parsley and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Add the cheese in a little bit at a time tossing between each addition. Save a little to garnish.
  6. To plate, put a layer of pasta down, top with a fried egg, and sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper, sea salt and cheese on top of the egg.
  • annie

    With the abundance of parsley in the garden at this time, this will definitely be one of our meals this week. Oh So deliciously simple:) Thank you for sharing:)

  • Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    This looks yummy! Great idea to serve it with a fried egg on top, I bet it’s gorgeous when the yolk breaks onto it!

  • Channon Doughty

    Very lovely and simple recipe. Thank you for all your creativity and inspiration! I just picked up a cookbook that focuses on the Italian philosophy “the more you spend, the worse you eat.” This seems fitting. Someones you can just use what you have!
    One thing I am wondering about is why you salt the water before bringing it to a boil. Working in Italian restaurants, I learned that the salt is mostly there to help keep a rolling boil going after you add the pasta, but it only works if you get the water boiling before adding the salt. In this way, as the temperature drops from adding the pasta, the water will still “roll” because the salt has lowered the boiling point. This also requires a generous amount of salt. Any thoughts?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      HI Channon, adding salt to water actually increases the boiling point, that’s why common wisdom says you add it when you boil vegetables (higher temperature = faster cooking = more vibrant color). The problem with this is that you have to add a tremendous amount of salt to effect the boiling point by just a few degrees (not enough to make a significant difference). As for the rolling boil theory, when you add salt to boiling water, it makes the water boil more vigorously until the salt dissolves, this is because the crystals of salt add more nucleation points for the water vapor to form (you can see the same effect happen by adding salt or sugar to a glass of beer). The reality is that adding salt makes what you cook taste better (whether it’s vegetables or pasta), so while their reasoning may be inaccurate, the end result is that cooking with salt in the water makes for a better tasting product.

  • leaf

    Love the simplicity of this, and the fried egg on top definitely adds a bit of pizzazz!

  • kat

    Perfection. Last night I made spaghetti al limone with chives (usually with basil). Simple rules. Thanks, I love what you do.

  • laura

    was desperate for a meal tonite, this was perfect!


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!