Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Question of Crunch

Pasta chi Pipi, Pummururiddi & Muddica
Pasta with Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Crispy Bread Crumbs & Herbs


We love "a muddica" back in The Old Country- crispy, toasted bread crumbs are the poor mans Parmesan cheese in Sicily and most of the rest of Southern Italy. They add a great crunch and a perfect finish to any pasta dish- whether you have cheese or not!

This evenings supper was a simple dish of spaghetti with sweet yellow pepper and cherry tomatoes, enriched with plenty of fresh herbs- and indeed- made so much better still through the crunch of the "muddica"!

Pasta dishes should always be simple- they should never be too fussy- that's not the Italian way! Just a couple of simple ingredients and little common-sense and improvisation and you can always turn them into something special. And please- no heavy sauces or cream! That's something we don't like to do, for sure!


You can't get much easier than this! I yellow pepper, 6 cherry tomatoes, 1 shallot, 2-3 tablespoons of bread crumbs, fresh basil, parsley and thyme, a little salt, pepper and good olive oil- and you have more than enough ingredients there to prepare 2 great plates of pasta!


I am sure this picture says more than a thousand words about this dish- it is full of light, fresh flavors- vibrant, healthy and good! You will love the way the sweetness of the pepper and tomatoes blends with the herbs- and then those crispy crumbs... just perfect!

I cut the pepper into thin strips, the cherry tomatoes into halves and finely chopped the shallot and the parsley- very easy prep-work as usual.


The first thing I did was to put the crumbs into a dry pan and start heating them up. Once they were on the verge of starting to turn brown, I added a little olive oil and the parsley. I stirred everything quickly together and added a hint of salt and pepper, stirred them through and then continued stirring and toasting them off the heat... they do tend to brown all at once are are easy to burn- so be careful!

I then set them to one side to cool, popped my pasta on to boil and got busy with the other ingredients.


Into the frying pan went the shallot, pepper and tomatoes along with the thyme and a nice glug of olive oil...


...which after 4-5 minutes were nice and brown and looking delicious! I seasoned them with salt and pepper and then got ready to add the pasta.


In went the spaghetti, after just 5 minutes of cooking time, with plenty of the water it had boiled in, to continue simmering away with all of the other ingredients for 3-4 minutes.


After that time, all of the water had been absorbed and had infused the spaghetti with all of the flavors of the other ingredients... it was so easy!

Also, most of the little thyme leaves had fallen from the stems, which I then removed. I plucked off any leaves that were still attached- because that is all good flavor that can go into your plate!


With a nice scattering of toasted bread crumbs, plenty of fresh basil, a good drizzle of olive oil and some freshly ground pepper... dinner was ready to be served!


I would say that it would be pretty difficult to beat this in terms of price, spreed, ease and flavor! What's not to love? This has everything a great pasta dish needs! Unless you absolutely need to have that cheese of course- haha! Parmesan, Grana, Pecorino or salted Ricotta would of course be great additions. But me? I kept is simple!


And simply delicious!

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