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Pasta with breadcrumbs

  • 25 minutes
  • Easy
  • First Courses
Often served in Southern Italy, this filling pasta dish pairs well with a good glass of full-bodied red wine.

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 1 lb bucatini
  • 4 salted anchovies
  • 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch Hot chili peppers

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In the meantime, rinse the anchovies well under running water and debone. Place a pan over low heat and add half the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the anchovies and cook for a couple of minutes, until the anchovies break down.

While the anchovies are cooking, place another pan with the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and chili powder. Toast the breadcrumbs for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are golden.

Once the water is boiling, add salt and cook the bucatini following the cooking time written on the box. Drain the pasta when done and toss with the anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs.

This dish is traditionally served on Christmas Eve.

Food History

Pasta with breadcrumbs is a widespread preparation is Southern Italy and was probably created by the lower class who could not afford other ingredients. They would prepare the breadcrumbs using the leftover bread from the days before and, when possible, add two other ingredients that were typical of home cooking at the time: salted anchovies and dried chili peppers. Over time in the region of Calabria, people began to prepare this dish on Christmas Eve when, according to tradition, one shouldn’t eat meat. Usually, this recipe is prepared with long, dried pasta noodles. Dried pasta arrived in Southern Italy via Sicily, where it was introduced by the Arabs. In the 12th century, the first pasta factory in Europe was built in Palermo and Sicily quickly became the center of pasta production in the Mediterranean.

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