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5 from 7 votes

Lemon Caper Pasta

Linguine is tossed with a simple sauce of garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, capers, and pasta water and topped with garlicky homemade breadcrumbs.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons capers drained and rinsed
  • 2 cup reserved pasta water will most likely not need all of it
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the breadcrumbs

  • 5 slices day old bread cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest about the amount from 1 lemon


  • Bring a large pot of salted (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon) water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, pulse the breadcrumb mixture in a food processor until coarse breadcrumbs are formed. Toast the breadcrumbs in a large pan over medium-low heat for about 5-7 minutes or until golden but not burned. Set the toasted breadcrumbs aside.
  • At this time, cook the linguine until 1 minute less than al dente.
  • In a very large pan saute the garlic over medium-low heat in extra virgin olive oil until golden (about 2-3 minutes). Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Next, add the capers and 1 cup of pasta water to the pan. Turn the heat to medium. Place the pasta in the pan and toss to coat. If needed, add a touch more of the reserved pasta water to get a perfectly emulsified sauce.
  • Once the pasta reaches al dente turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. Add the lemon juice and the parsley and toss once more. Taste test and make final adjustments to salt, pepper, and lemon juice if needed.
  • If the pasta turns a bit dry before serving, just add a touch more of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up. Serve the linguine in bowls topped with the crunchy breadcrumbs. Enjoy!



  • Capers are very salty.  Rinsing them can help tone down the saltiness.
  • Always reserve pasta water. If the pasta dries out before serving, just add a few ounces of the pasta water to bring the consistency right back to perfect.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave.


Calories: 698kcal | Carbohydrates: 105.9g | Protein: 18.2g | Fat: 24.6g | Saturated Fat: 3.4g | Sodium: 454mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 5.6g | Sugar: 3.8g | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 5mg