Pasta con la mollica (Pasta with Breadcrumbs)
In Southern Italy, breadcrumbs were know as the poor man’s cheese which added a nice texture and taste to pasta dishes. Breadcrumbs also do not contain dairy so you can add it to meat dishes and still be kosher. However, this particular recipe calls for anchovies or sardines since seafood was cheap and plentiful around the Mediterranean communities that the Varsano migrated to.
- 1 lb spaghetti, mafaldine or bucatini
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 anchovy fillets, canned or jarred in oil. Alternatively, substitute a comparable amount of sardines
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 cup of dry breadcrumbs. Alternatively, substitute matzo meal, but I prefer breadcrumbs.
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Boil a large pot of salted water
- Drain oil oil from anchovy can in a large frying pan
- In a large frying pan, sauté the garlic for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, then add red pepper flakes for another minute Sauté the breadcrumbs until lightly toasted. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest then set aside
- Break up anchovies into small pieces and sauté in oil on low heat for 2 minutes.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to pasta directions. Drain and transfer pasta to the pan the anchovies, and cook over low heat. When the pasta is well coated and any pasta water has evaporated, add about half the toasted breadcrumbs and mix well.
- Garnish with the remaining breadcrumbs and chopped parsley, serve warm.