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Pasta con Mollica

Seasoned breadcrumbs add flavor and crunch to this classic Italian pasta dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (a couple of handfuls)

  • About 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup flat leaf parsely, chopped

  • 10-12 anchovy fillets (about 1 ounce), preferably from L'Escala

  • 6 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced

  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained

  • 1-1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

  • Salt

  • 1 pound spaghetti

Preparation

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, let cool, then chop. In the same skillet, heat 3 tablespoons EVOO, three turns of the pan, over medium. When the oil shimmers, add the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring often, until deep golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. In a medium size bowl, combine the nuts, breadcrumbs and parsley.

In the same large skillet, heat about 5 tablespoons EVOO, five turns of the pan, over medium. Add the anchovies and stir until completely melted into the oil, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, capers and crushed red pepper. Reduce the heat to low. Let the anchovy sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.

Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Off the heat, stir the cooking water into the anchovy sauce, then toss with the pasta. Add about two-thirds of the breadcrumb-almond mixture. Toss until the pasta absorbs the sauce, about 1 minute. Transfer the pasta to a serving dish and top with the remaining breadcrumb-almond mixture. Serve with EVOO for drizzling.

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