Sicilian Pasta With Parmesan, Capers and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Serves 4.

Note: You can double the quantity of toasted breadcrumbs to store in a covered container in the pantry. These will stay fresh for at least a few weeks. If you need to re-crisp, simply toss them back into a dry pan and toast over low heat. Allow them to cool before packing them up. This recipe finishes the dish with shreds of real Parmesan cheese, but it's just as delicious without. From Beth Dooley.


• 1/2 loaf of sourdough bread, coarsely ground into crumbs (about 2 to 2 1/2 c.)

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 cloves garlic, smashed


• 16 oz. spaghetti

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 3 cloves garlic, smashed

• Generous pinch red pepper flakes

• 1 tbsp. drained capers, or more to taste

• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon zest

• Juice of 1 large lemon (about 3 tbsp.)

• 1/2 c. pasta cooking water

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 1 to 2 tbsp. shaved Parmesan, optional


To prepare the breadcrumbs: Break dry bread into chunks. (If your bread is still moist, dry out slices in a warm oven until firm, but not super hard, and then break into chunks.) Place bread chunks in a food processor and whir into crumbs.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil and garlic together over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to turn golden. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the breadcrumbs to the oil and fry the breadcrumbs, stirring and tossing frequently until they turn golden brown and crisp. Remove to a paper towel and allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

To prepare the pasta: Bring about 5 to 6 quarts of generously salted water to a rapid boil. Drop in the pasta and cook until tender but firm, about 10 to 12 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the pot and cover it to retain heat.

Film a large skillet with the oil, add the garlic, and set over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic until just tender, about 1 to 2 minutes, then add the pepper flakes, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice and pasta cooking water. Turn the cooked pasta into the skillet and toss everything together and warm over low heat to reduce the liquid until it's a glaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste, toss in the toasted breadcrumbs along with the Parmesan, if using, and serve immediately.