Pasta with Crispy Breadcrumbs, Anchovies, and Garlic

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 to 3


Pasta inspired by a recipe in Mario Batali’s Molto Italian If you like Italian cooking, this book is a source of endless inspiration. I have had it for years now, and it is always the one I turn to when I just want to flip through something and start dreaming. What’s nice about the book’s recipes, especially the pasta ones, is that they aren’t overly precise and can be used as a guide and tailored to what you have on hand or to your preferences. The original recipe for this pasta called for caramelized onions, which would be a delicious addition. Source for the Homemade Breadcrumbs: Bon Appètit As I mention in the post, I make breadcrumbs whenever I have stale bread on hand. Once you have a stash of whizzed breadcrumbs in your freezer, making toasted breadcrumbs to add to various dishes becomes effortless. I usually make smaller batches, using about a tablespoon and a half of olive oil per cup of breadcrumbs.


  • 1/2 lb. short pasta, such as campanelle, orecchiette, or gemelli
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 5 anchovies, minced
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil or parsley
  • 1 cup toasted breadcrumbs (recipe below)for the breadcrumbs:
  • stale bread
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a big pinch of kosher salt. Add pasta and cook al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, place oil, pepper flakes, garlic and anchovies. Bring to a sizzle over high heat. Swirl around so that all of the ingredients mingle together — 30 seconds or so — then remove pan from heat. Set aside.
  3. Place pasta in a large bowl. Add about 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking liquid and toss. Add the anchovy-infused olive oil mixture and toss well. Taste. Add more pasta cooking liquid if necessary. Season with salt (if necessary) and fresh cracked pepper if you wish. Add chopped basil and toasted breadcrumbs, and toss well. Serve. To make the breadcrumbs:Tear about 1/4 of a good loaf of rustic white bread (fresh or day-old) until you’ve got 2 cups 1-inch crustless breadcrumbs. Pulse in a food processor until crumbs are coarse. Toast crumbs in about 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, until crunchy and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt and let cool on a paper towel-lined plate.