Pasta with Breadcrumbs and Anchovies has that touch of glamour and the sweet life that is so quintessentially Italian. Imagine your grandma’s kitchen if she insisted on getting her hair done and changing into a nice dress before she started making dinner.
Origins of Toasted Breadcrumbs on Pasta
In times past, when money was tight, the taste and texture of grated cheese could be mimicked with toasted breadcrumbs.
With all the pre-grated parm available in cans, it’s easy to add a surprising level of decadence by mixing in some crunchy, oily breadcrumbs. Something about the unexpected nature of it, like having to crumble the bread and brown it carefully, makes it feel like a treat.
A Satisfying Combination of Strong Flavors
What other seasonings, then, do breadcrumb-topped pasta dishes require? Anchovies. My father claimed that even though I used the entire can of anchovies and all the oil that came with them, it wasn’t salty enough for him.
Enhanced with a generous helping of salty capers, a plethora of garlic, a pinch of crushed red pepper, some lemon zest, and a handful of grated Parmigiano?
Let’s just say the pasta with breadcrumbs disappeared quickly, and I did my happy dance (happy dance = when I am so pleased with how my food turns out that I sway in the chair at the dinner table, eyes closed, of course) while eating it.
One of life’s most significant rewards is seeing those you care about an experience such unbridled, spaghetti-fueled joy. Do it! I have no doubt that it will become a regular part of your conversation.
Find out how to make it here!
- 1 pound of minced dried thin spaghetti or angel hair
- 2 oz. of anchovies
- 180ml of extra virgin olive oil (divided into ½ cup plus ¼ cup)
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 cups of breadcrumbs
- 1 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- zest of one lemon
- Grated parmesan cheese (to serve)
- Get yourself 2 cups of coarse breadcrumbs by processing 2 slices of stale bread in a food processor.
- Then, heat a half cup of olive oil in a skillet over low to medium heat. Put in the bread crumbs and mix everything together. Allow a slight toasting while keeping a close eye on them. They need to be toasted until they are very dark brown and crunchy. Take it away from the stove and put it aside.
- Pasta should be cooked al dente in lightly salted water as directed on the package.
- During that time, bring another 1/4 cup of olive oil to temperature over moderate heat. Caramelize one head of minced garlic.
- Then, add one can of anchovies to the oil (or two if you’re an anchovy head) and mash them up with a wooden spoon until they resemble a coarse paste.
- Cook for one minute after adding a half cup of capers. Combine the pasta, pepper, chili flakes, parsley, and lemon zest in a large bowl. (If you prefer spicier pasta, add chili flakes and let them infuse the oil for a few minutes before adding the pasta.) Mix the pasta and the breadcrumbs together, and do it quickly.
- Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving.