This is a twist on spaghetti aglio e olio, a traditional Italian pasta dish featuring garlic, olive oil, and chile. The fresh breadcrumbs soak up the spicy oil and garlic in a most delicious way. Be sure to brown the breadcrumbs well, or they’ll be soggy in the finished dish. Ciabatta breadcrumbs are best for this dish, but you can use any mild-flavored bread; leave the crusts on for the best texture. The anchovies are optional, but they bring complexity to the dish without making it taste overtly fishy.
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Excellent. Easy. Served with peas with bacon and shallot vinaigrette. Just used little pasta water and it was not too dry. My 4 yo twins and 5 yo loved it!
Don't let the simplicity of this recipe fool you. It is fantastic. The anchovies are NOT optional. You can use anchovy paste from a tube if you want to simplify, but do add them. You will never taste them, but you WILL miss them, if left out. It is kind of messy on the stovetop, but well worth the clean up. My hubby likes this one so much he volunteers to do the clean up. It is great as a side dish or for meatless Mondays. And do make your own crumbs. With a food processor, nothing could be simpler. I keep a ziplock bag of them in the freezer, and add to it whenever I have extra or stale bread. Follow this recipe as written, including using a good quality olive oil, and YOU will have your own devoted followers.
From such humble ingredients, what a flavorful result with a satisfying contrast of textures. Thank God for Italy! My tweeks were not dramatic, although my weights/measurements were slightly "rounded" versions of this recipe. I used 1/4 tsp. of the pepper flakes, 24g. of chopped garlic, and .8 oz. wt. of anchovy. Within the body of the recipe, you are advised to deeply brown the crumbs in the oil, and this is mentioned in the header of the recipe as well. This was a wise move to stress this component in preparing the dish. It makes all the difference in the world. And as for the Anchovy being optional, well, not in our family....it's the Italian version of Umami!!! Truly a stunning pasta entree.
We make this recipe without breadcrumbs and it's much tastier. It seemed as though the breadcrumbs absorbed all the flavor.
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