Poor Man’s Pastas

the basics

I had every intention of writing this post yesterday but this week has been really crazy at work. The semester is reaching that screeching pitch where the kids are over-busy and turning into zombies, and I am over-busy both with them and with committee work. That’s a warning of sorts to potential future faculty: if you don’t like serving on committees, maybe you should rethink your career path! So far I enjoy it a lot, but it’s a lot of madness and chaos these days.

The other night Mr. Pea and I enjoyed a very simple pasta, one that is considered a traditional “poor man’s pasta” because of the paucity of ingredients. We got to talking and came to the conclusion that most poor man’s pastas are tasty enough to envy those made with expensive ingredients and are made extra-special by the short amount of time you can make them in. The one we made the other night was a breadcrumb-based dish; but aglio e olio–spaghetti tossed with olive oil that’s gently simmered with garlic and a little red pepper flakes, topped with pecorino or parmesan–is another great example. Even carbonara–pasta with eggs and a little bacon–is a poor-man’s pasta.

Pasta with Breadcrumbs
This is best made with fresh breadcrumbs that you’ve made yourself, blitzing a heel of bread or so in the food processor or blender, but we’ve also made it using unseasoned breadcrumbs from a can. Serves 2.

6 oz pasta, preferably a long cut like spaghetti or fettucine
3/4 c bread crumbs
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste

Get your pasta going. With 5-10 minutes left, warm up the oil and butter together over medium-high heat and add garlic. Cook a minute, being careful not to let it brown. Add bread crumbs, toss to coat, and let it get toasty, 5-10 minutes. Toss pasta with crumbs, season with a little salt (we don’t use pepper, but you could), and voila. Delicious.

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3 responses »

  1. We occasionally make pasta with oil, a tiny bit of red sauce & hard-boiled eggs. I never thought of trying pasta with breadcrumbs though.

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