Sicilian Breadcrumb Pasta with Cerasuolo di Vittoria
Fried or baked in the oven with olive oil and garlic, stale breadcrumbs are an amazingly versatile partner to almost any vegetable or pasta dish. It’s an Italian thing, rustic and thrifty, you can add dried fruits, nuts, raisins, currants, cauliflower and capers and amaze yourself with the sophistication of flavours – and all from store cupboard ingredients.
This mixture would happily go through pasta for 4.
2 large handfuls of stale breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil (also extra for drizzling)
4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
Pinch of chilli flakes
Tin of anchovies
Handful of chopped raisins
Handful of chopped Parsley (rosemary or sage also good)
Put a large pan of salted water on to boil for your pasta. Meanwhile, combine a spoonful of oil with your breadcrumbs, spread them out on a tray and bake in a medium to hot oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Leave aside. Heat another spoonful of oil over a medium heat, add the anchovies, chilli and garlic and fry gently, mashing up the anchovy and making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the raisins and half the herbs. Season – be careful not to add too much salt as you have the anchovies. Simply drain your pasta (I always retain a spoonful of cooking water in the pasta) and stir through the anchovy mixture. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs at the last minute. You may want another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a final flurry of emerald green parsley to make it look beautiful. Best to place it all on a pretty plate.