Saturday, February 20, 2010

When crumbs are all you want

I have never really been wild about pasta. I don't hate it but I almost never cook pasta and hardly ever order it when dining out.But when I watched an episode of Mark Bittman's Best Recipes in the World where he dressed his pasta with just breadcrumbs and dried chillies lightly sauteed in butter and garlic; seasoned with salt and pepper and of course tossed with lotsa extra virgin olive oil, I was drawn in.

Something about that mix piqued my curiousity and I decided to try it. That was about six months ago and I have since made it numerous times for friends, all of whom have loved the recipe. The garlic and the flavour of the lightly fried breadcrumbs and the hint of hotness ffrom the dried chillies are just sublime. There is no cheese (usually a must for me with pasta) but you really don't notice and frankly, you don't care.

I varied the recipe a little each time I made it, not out of necessity (because the recipe didn't need anything more) but more out of my curiousity. I wanted a herb in there. and so I tried fresh thyme (a little peppery and woody)  and some dried mixed herbs but just a dash. They both tasted great but like I said, the recipe doesn't really need it.

What's more important that your breadcrumbs should not be too crumbled; make sure you have some chunks and some lumps amidst the crumbs. Also, it's difficult to balance how much garlic is enough because you want a distinct garlic flavour but not too much that it burns and overpowers everything else.
Breadcrumb+ garlic meet dried chillies + pasta

Angel Hair pasta (I like this recipe best with angel hair)

Two cups breadcrumbs (have lotsa chunky bits amidst the  fine crumbs)

About six dried chillies, roughly broken up

Six cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tbsp butter

olive oil

salt n' pepper

Cook pasta till al dente. Toss with oilve oil (be generous)  and set aside. Heat butter in saucepan and add garlic. When fragrant, add breadcrumbs and chilli and cook for about 3 mins or till crumbs are golden. Season with salt and pepper. Just before removing, add spaghetti and toss, on the fire, till well coated. Remove, drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve.


  1. Tried it, and love it! :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Glad you did. Isnt it amazing how breadcrumbs can taste so good?

  3. [...] of days ago if I had a recipe for Pasta Aglio e Olio. Unfortunately, I didn’t, although the Angel Hair pasta with garlic and breadcrumbs I often make is a variation of the classic Aglio e Olio. Well, [...]


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