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Pasta with Crispy Bread Crumbs, Anchovies, and Garlic


Pasta inspired by a recipe in Mario Batali’s Molto Italian

Notes re bread crumbs:

As I mention in the post, I make bread crumbs whenever I have stale bread on hand. Once you have a stash of whizzed bread crumbs in your freezer, making toasted bread crumbs to add to various dishes becomes effortless.

This is the formula I adhere to most often: 2 tablespoons olive oil to every 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs.


For the bread crumbs:

  • stale bread
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt

For the pasta:

  • 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 bread crumbs


  1. Make the bread crumbs: Tear up stale bread (fresh or days-old) and place in a food processor. Pulse until crumbs are mostly finely ground. This is the formula I love: Toast 1 cup crumbs in about 2 tablespoons olive oil with a pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crunchy and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Taste. Salt to taste.
  2. Make the pasta: 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 bread crumbs, and toss well. Serve.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: pasta, bread, crumbs, Italian, pantry, anchovies, garlic, pepper, flakes