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Dinner “all’Italiana” at La Moussière – Primo Piatto

“Bad news, the Camorra did not release the pasta recipe. Sorry Roger“, I said. There was no way we could get the camorristas to unveil this ancient dish. Therefore, I sent a pizzo (a form of paying the mafia) to Cosa Nostra in Sicily (Costa Nostra in Italian means “Our Thing”).

After long negotiations, we finally got the recipe so Roger and I could cook “Pasta Nostra”.  It was a tedious process that involved not only paying the pizzo in the form of “Photography secrets”, but we had to send by email the secret code in order to get the recipe: it was PATA (pasta without the S). Apparently, the guy in Sicily was having problems with its keyboard and could not type the S!! Nevermind, here’s the recipe!

Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, capers, anchovies and breadcrumbs

Ingredients

  • 300 grams of spaghetti
  • about 25 – 30 of ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons of capers
  • 3-4 anchovies
  • 250 grams of fresh breadcrumbs from high quality non toasted bread
  • 10 grams of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • some basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 or 2 small dry chili (I used one but you can add 2 if you like it hotter)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Making Breadcrumbs

I have always used breadcrumbs from toasted bread. Yet, this time Roger came up with one of the most brilliant ideas in cooking I have ever seen; and that is, using breadcrumbs out of fresh French baguette. Adding fresh breadcrumbs into pasta does make a difference since you get a diverse effect in consistency. While toasted breadcrumbs are smaller and harder, fresh breadcrumbs are bigger, softer and moister (sorry Roger,  I know you don’t like this word). This means breadcrumbs will absorb more sauce, resulting in a fuller and richer pasta dish.

Cut the bread into chunks. Remove the crust. Put the bread chunks into a  food processor. Add salt, pepper, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Add extra virgin olive oil. Process until the mixture turns into small crumbs.

Method

Cut date tomatoes lengthwise.

Heat a skillet with extra virgin olive oil (over high heat) and place diced garlic and hot peppers. Sautee for about 2-3 minutes to let flavors infuse into olive oil. Discard garlic and hot peppers.

Decrease heat to medium high and gently squeeze tomatoes to let the juices come out. Cook for another 2 minutes. Cut anchovies into 2 -3 pieces each. Add chopped anchovies to the sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add capers and turn off the heat. Add basil leaves torn with your hands.

Meanwhile bring a pot with water to a boil. When boiling, add coarse salt, and cook pasta following package instructions.

Drain pasta and transfer it to the skillet (over very low heat) containing the sauce, add breadcrumbs and combine well.

 Plating

To make pasta nests, head to my post Bucatini with roasted red pepper sauce and zucchini.

Serves 3

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28 Comments Post a comment
  1. Brilliant writing – bravissimo – and you’ve certainly learnt how to use Photoshop in your wonderful picture. WE made the recipe again yesterday and it was great.

    September 2, 2011
    • Thank you teacher!! I am honored you made the recipe!!

      September 3, 2011
  2. Oh, I’m definitely going to make this…so long as the Camorra will allow it! Great photo too.

    September 2, 2011
    • Well it is not the Camorra you have to ask, is Cosa Nostra in Sicily!!! But they have given us the ok!!! So go ahead and make it!!

      September 3, 2011
  3. Oh, that looks divine! Thank you so much for going to all the trouble of getting the recipe.. well done.. c

    September 2, 2011
    • You are welcome and we are glad to share it with you!

      September 3, 2011
  4. I don’t typically toast my bread, but I do dry it out first. Do you and Roger think the fresh bread crumbs would be better? Also, to discard garlic properly, blow on it and pop it in your mouth, mmmm… Or is that just me. I seriously hung on every word of this post and the picture is fantastic. I want to make this and soon!

    September 2, 2011
    • I usually get bredcrumbs from stale (dry bread) or tosated bread. I had never thought of getting breadcrums out of fresh bread. When Roger said he was doing the breadcrums, I was expecting breadcrumbs form toasted or stale bread. So this idea really surprised me and it worked out well. The fact he added parmesan, olive oil, and salt and pepper was also an excellent idea. I would not say that using fresh breadcrumbs is a better idea: it all depends on what effect you want on pasta!! As far as discarding garlic, it is an Italian thing. They just use garlic to perfum oil but never eat it because they don’t like its taste. I guess it is a personal thing. When I was in Amalfi Coast, cooks in Conca del Sogno restaurant they finely minced garlic and heat it in olive oil without discarding it.

      September 3, 2011
  5. Lovely dish, lovely photo, lovely writing! Am hungry now… will the Camorra mind if we all make this?!

    September 2, 2011
    • Gracias Chica!!! Actually is not the Camorra is Cosa Nostra!! and they sure do not mind so go girl!!!

      September 3, 2011
  6. I love to add toasted breadcrumbs to pasta dishes that I’ve mixed with herbs and garlic so this is going to be a fabulous dish for me to try out!! I’m so curious to see how the fresh baguette will enhance the sauce!!

    September 2, 2011
    • Yes!! It was a new thing for me so try it!!!! I hope you like the effect!!!

      September 3, 2011
  7. I like to make freshly toasted crumbs to top many of my simple pasta dishes. Very interesting using fresh breadcrumbs instead…can’t wait to give it a try. Maybe Roger could ship over a baguette. Your photos were always good, now they are even better.

    September 2, 2011
    • That is funny! Roger going to la Poste and shipping a baguette. Thanks for the nice words Karen!!!

      September 3, 2011
  8. What an amazing photo! Great recipe, it looks incredible delicious.

    September 2, 2011
    • Thank you very much!!! and thanks for stopping by!!!

      September 3, 2011
  9. Beautiful picture, you were a good student, hope I get that much from it…. the dish looks delicious, a recipe without s … added character no doubt. I love it! I have been using my processor to make my own bread crumbs from all kinds of bread crumbs and it does make a difference! I said it once but I’ll say it again it is a beautiful picture and I love the way you staged it….RaeDi

    September 3, 2011
  10. I’ve only recently started using bread crumbs in some pasta dishes. You would know better than I but isn’t that more a Southern Italy/Sicily custom? No matter. I love how the bread crumbs bring another level of flavor as well as texture to the dish. You’ve shared a great recipe — and such a beautiful picture, too!

    September 3, 2011
    • Yes it is a Southern Italian custom. This recipe has its origins in Sicily. Thank you!!!

      September 3, 2011
  11. That looks delicious and the photography is exceptional. I’m making the recipe also 🙂

    September 3, 2011
  12. Bread crumbs from fresh bread…really interesting…I have to try this one out..thank you so much the recipe and all the trouble you went through to get it.

    P.S. the picture is stunning

    September 4, 2011
    • Yes it was a really interesting idea that I came across incidentally!!!

      September 4, 2011
  13. I am not a huge spaghetti fan but I thin you have just made me a believer again. This looks amazing! I am so hungry now lol

    September 7, 2011
  14. What a fantastic photograph!

    September 8, 2011

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