I love pastas with red sauce, but how many times can I make the same penne à la vodka? I wanted to create a pasta that doesn’t entail a creamy sauce, but stands up as a favorite on its own. The star of this dish is the crunch—courtesy of the bread crumbs—it’s unexpected but completely delicious. With tomatoes, fresh herbs, and parmesan cheese, it still has the classic pasta flavors we love. Now I’m craving this—maybe even more than my penne.
I used fettuccine with this recipe, but unlike sauce-based pasta dishes, which pair best with specific pasta shapes, this one is versatile. It’ll work with penne or any other pasta that’s currently in your pantry.
1 pound pasta
½ cup olive oil
4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 ½ cups bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
6 tablespoons fresh parsley
¼ to ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Prepare pasta according to package directions to tender consistency. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 to 3 cloves garlic in a skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium, toss in bread crumbs, and season with salt and pepper. Stir often, cooking until crumbs turn brown and crisp, about 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and add remaining garlic and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.
- Toss pasta with tomatoes, half the bread crumbs, and 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil. Add pine nuts. Drizzle any remaining olive oil on top and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.
Yield: serves 6
Yield: 12 cups