• Pasta Grammar

3 Italian Recipes Using Bread Crumbs | Citrus Pasta, Italian Swiss Chard & Passatelli

Bread crumbs are a basic and essential Italian ingredient. From meatballs to frittatas, bread crumbs can be found as a topping, thickener, or even the base of many classic Italian dishes. Here are three of our favorite recipes that show off the versatility of this Italian pantry staple.



Pasta ai Sapori di Sicilia


This citrus pasta is seriously enhanced by the addition of a toasted bread crumb topping. This topping can be easily added to lots of simple, white pasta dishes (although we recommend omitting the lemon grass in most cases. Serves 2.


For this recipe, you will need:


- 5.5 oz. (160g) spaghetti or other long, dry pasta

- 2 tbsp (30g) unsalted butter

- Grated orange zest (one whole orange)

- Grated lemon zest (one whole lemon)

- 2 tbsp (30g) olive oil

- A pinch of minced lemon grass

- 1 cup (100g) bread crumbs

- Salt


Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt generously (as they say in Italy, the water should taste like the sea!). Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the provided directions.



Meanwhile, add lemon grass and olive oil into a non-stick pan. Bring up to medium/high temp on the stovetop and add breadcrumbs. Stir frequently until bread crumbs are toasted to a golden brown color. Remove from heat.



In a skillet, melt the butter with the zest of one whole orange and lemon over medium heat. Turn off the stove once the butter has completely melted. As the pasta nears completion, add a small ladleful of the pasta water into the butter sauce. When the pasta has finished cooking, use tongs to transfer it into the sauce and stir all together vigorously over medium/high heat.



Serve immediately and top with a sprinkling of the toasted bread crumbs and a little extra orange zest (optional). Be aware that you will have leftover crumbs which you can save for another dish!





Swiss Chard (Bieta) alla Mamma Rosa


This is a great example of how one can use bread crumbs to elevate a plain vegetable into an irresistible side dish. Serves 2.


For this recipe, you will need:


- 20 oz. (560g) swiss chard

- 2 tbsp (30g) olive oil

- 1 clove garlic

- 1.5 oz. (50g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or to taste)

- 2.5 oz. (70g) bread crumbs (or to taste)

- Salt


Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt generously. Add the swiss chard and boil until the stalks are quite tender.



Crush the garlic clove and add into a non-stick pan, along with the olive oil. Bring up to medium temp and add the swiss chard.



Sautée for about 5 minutes, then add the Parmigiano and continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes, stirring frequently.



Add the bread crumbs and remove the garlic clove. Stir all together and serve.





Passatelli


This unusual pasta is made by squeezing a bread crumb dough through a potato ricer into hot broth. Although there are a few variations, passatelli is normally served in broth. Serves 2.


For this recipe you will need:


- Broth to fill a pot (32-64 oz.). We used our own turkey broth but beef is more traditional

- 3 oz. (80g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some extra for topping

- 3 oz. (80g) bread crumbs

- 2 eggs

- A pinch of grated nutmeg

- A pinch of grated lemon zest


Combine the cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, nutmeg and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Use a fork or spatula to mix all together until it can be formed into a ball by hand.



Knead the dough until it is well-mixed and uniform.



Bring a pot of broth to a boil on the stovetop. Working in batches, squeeze the dough through a potato ricer into the hot broth. We recommend using the largest diameter holes available. Most ricers come with several different grate settings. Use a knife to cut the "pasta" strands free from the ricer.



When the passatelli float to the top of the broth, they can be ladled into a bowl along with some of the broth. Top with some extra Parmigiano and serve immediately.



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