Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pasta ca' muddica

Pasta with toasted bread crumbs and anchovies is a very ancient recipe from southern Italy, perfect as "spaghetti di mezzanotte" [midnight spaghetti] because it is ready in 15 minutes and so tasteful you will be surprised. There is no tomato sauce in this recipe but sometimes i add few cherry tomatoes, and also olives and capers if i want a richer recipe.

Ingredients for 150 grams of spaghetti:
  • Spaghetti  - 150 grams [about 5 ounces]
  • 2 Anchovies fillets
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 spring onion
  • pinch of hot chili flakes [i prefer the mild Kashmiri chilies in small pieces]
  • 3 spoons of breadcrumbs [or even more] with a pinch of sugar
  • 3 spoons Extra virgin olive oil
For a better result make your own breadcrumbs with any bread torn in small pieces. Place it in the food processor and get a coarse texture. If you use the one sold in the market it will stick to your throat besides not tasting good. Just a little suggestion to make a difference.

  1. Fill a large pan with water [one liter for each 100 grams of spaghetti], and put on fire.
  2. While waiting for the water to get hot, warm a non-stick pan and roast the breadcrumbs until golden brown. Keep stirring to avoid any burning and at the end add very little oil, just few drops, and a pinch of sugar. Do not leave it in the hot pan because it will go on browning and it will burn. You can add a pinch of chili powder while roasting the breadcrumbs if you like it hot.
  3. Warm the oil in a large frying pan and brown, but not burn, the chopped spring onions, crushed garlic, chili flakes and anchovies. Press the anchovies with a spatula to help them breaking up and go on cooking on low fire until the anchovies are melted.
  4. When the water for the pasta start boiling add the salt and you will see lots of bubbles coming up, that's the exact time to add pasta to the boiling water.
  5. Cook according to the time printed on the packet but start testing it a couple of minutes before the recommended time so that you check when they are ready "al dente", usually before the suggested time.
  6. Toss the hot and dripping spaghetti with the anchovies sauce and serve with the breadcrumbs on top.
Please do not think that breadcrumbs are the cheaper version of Parmigiano, in fact this dish doesn't require any cheese.


  1. questa pasta la faccio spesso!
    io aggiungo all'aglio una cipolla bianca di quelle lunghe.
    e poi aggiungo al pangrattato un pizzico di zucchero!
    questo e' tipico della cucina "hausitana" cioe' del quartiere della Kalsa (a Palermo) dove e' nato mio padre,credimi,provalo...fara' la differenza!

  2. Kucciola, grazie infinitamente per il consiglio, di certo faro' cosi d'ora in poi, anzi ho anche modificato il testo della ricetta. Non so quando mettere lo zucchero ma ho pensato mentre il pangrattato si abbrustolisce, spero di non aver sbagliato. Credo che fara' la differenza!

  3. c'hai azzeccato,devi metterlo alla fine,quando e' gia abbrustolito aggiungendo anche un goccio d'olio!

  4. ma quanto sei buona! non ci ho azzeccato! ma grazie ancora per il chiarimento, un bacione grande



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