Ok, here's a quick and easy one that will change the way you eat pasta! This is essentially fried or toasted breadcrumbs, stirred quickly over medium heat in a pan with a little olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. It's a very simple thing to make, but it will inevitably enhance pretty much any pasta dish you make, and it even works beautifully on pizza. The only risk here is that you'll want to eat it by the spoonful once its cooled off.
I can't quite remember where I personally encountered the concept of putting bread crumbs on pasta, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with Mario Batali and a dish my mom had ordered at Babbo. If I recall correctly, it was a spicy pasta alla chitarra and although it was dressed minimally in order to highlight whatever season vegetable components were being showcased, but it also have these fabulously crunchy breadcrumbs sprinkled on top, and they served to sort of accent the perfect aldente texture and spice of the dish. Ever since I've really loved the idea of adding a salty, crunchy constrast to my pastas and will often throw a small batch of these breadcrumbs together while I wait for my pasta water to boil. It's that quick and simple, and they keep wonderfully when stored in an airtight jar or container!
Here I've actually blended up the corner of an old loaf of bread, but at home I often just use panko breadcrumbs because they're big and fluffy and uniform. You can use whatever you like, but if you have old bread this is a great option (or croutons! or this tomato bread soup, which I adore).
- 1 cup of bread crumbs, fresh or store bought
- 2 to 3 TB of good olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, minced or grated into paste
- salt and pepper to taste
1. In a small pan heat your olive oil and place on mediuam-high heat until the oil is good and hot.
2. Once heated, add in the garlic and allow it to fry for 30 seconds to a minute, so the flavor is released into the oil.
3. After this, add in your breadcrumbs and stir continuously until the oil is fully distributed. Keep over the heat and stir continuously until the breadcrumbs begin to toast and brown. Keep stirring to avoid burning the breadcrumbs, as once they begin to toast they will cook quickly.
4. Keep stirring the bread crumbs until you're satisfied with the color, maybe about 4 minutes or so, and then finish with salt and pepper to taste!