There's nothing quite as simple and satisfying as pasta with garlicky breadcrumbs. Serve it with a salad for a light weekday meal or serve alongside meat or fish for a tasty side dish. Don't forget the red wine! The Wine Chef recommends her favorite Rosso di Montalcino from the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany. Meet Tommaso Cortonesi, third generation winemaker at La Mannella, whose winemaking is an expression of gratefulness. Read more about these outstanding wines at Grape Collective.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 6 drained, oil-packed anchovy fillets, optional
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti (or homemade, hand-rolled "pici" pasta)
- Grated Pecorino cheese, optional
- Fresh parsley, chopped, optional
1) Bring a large 8 to 12-quart pot of salted water to a boil.
2) In a wide skillet heat a 1/4 cup of the oil and the red pepper flakes over medium-low heat. Add the anchovies, if using, and cook for a minute, mashing them with a wooden spoon.
3) Raise the heat to medium and add the garlic and breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring often until the crumbs turn a deep golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Add salt and pepper to taste. If using anchovies you may not need to add any salt. Set aside.
4) Cook the spaghetti in the boiling, salted water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, saving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot over medium-low heat, add the reserved cooking water. Toss pasta and water together for a minute or so and until there is no more water left at the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the olive oil and combine well. Stir in about 2/3 of the breadcrumb mixture, saving 1/3 of it to sprinkle on top of each serving. Serve immediately with grated pecorino and parsley if desired.