Citizens, the Italian composer Ruggero Leoncavallo (who wrote “I Pagliacci” among other operas) was very partial to this dish. It is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve in Calabria.
As noted on the site academiabarilla.com:
“Pasta with breadcrumbs is a widespread preparation in Southern Italy and was probably created by the lower class who could not afford other ingredients.
They would prepare the breadcrumbs using the leftover bread from the days before and, when possible, add two other ingredients that were typical of home cooking at the time: salted anchovies and dried chili peppers.
Over time in the region of Calabria, people began to prepare this dish on Christmas Eve when, according to tradition, one shouldn’t eat meat.
Usually, this recipe is prepared with long, dried pasta noodles. Dried pasta arrived in Southern Italy via Sicily, where it was introduced by the Arabs. In the 12th century, the first pasta factory in Europe was built in Palermo and Sicily quickly became the center of pasta production in the Mediterranean.”
Citizens, this is a uniquely savory, spicy and delicious pasta recipe that goes beyond the norm – you simply must sample it at your earliest convenience! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
300g linguine (also called lingue di passero)
Salt and pepper
10 tbsp olive oil
60g pitted black olives, chopped
2 small red Calabrian chilis, finely chopped (preferred), buy them here or use 1-2 small Thai bird pepper, minced
2 tbsp oil from the Calabrian chili jar (preferred) or Asian chili oil
1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
6 minced anchovy fillets, Ortiz brand strongly preferred
60g fresh breadcrumbs
Finely minced deep-fried basil leaves for garnish (optional, TFD addition)
Add the linguine to a large pan of boiling salted water and boil until al denté.
Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a pan over medium-low flame, add the olives, chilis, capers and anchovies, and cook slowly, stirring to dissolve the anchovies. Drain the pasta as soon as it is ready and toss this into the sauce.
At the same time, heat the rest of the olive oil plus the Calabrian chili oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the breadcrumbs until slightly brown.
Now mix the dressed pasta into the breadcrumbs. Fry for a few minutes, until a crust forms underneath. Invert on to a warm plate, so the crusted side is on top. Cut into portions with a knife and serve with optional garnish.