This recipe comes from David Tanis’s most recent book One Good Dish, a celebration of simple food. And this recipe is the perfect remedy to a stale baguette. Make some breadcrubs, mix them with a few ingredients, stir them with some spaghetti, and voilà! You’ve got yourself an awesome dinner.
A 4-inch length stale dry baguette or a few slices of dry old French bread
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon coarsely crushed fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
¼ pound spaghetti, linguine, or other pasta shape
A chunk of Pecorino Romano cheese for grating (optional)
1. With a serrated knife, saw the baguette, if using, into thin slices. Crumble the bread with your fingers, which will produce a nice mixture of coarse and fine crumbs.
2. Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the crumbs and let them fry gently and slowly take on color, stirring occasionally. When they are golden and crisp, add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a minute or so. Season the crumbs generously with salt and pepper, and add a bold amount of red pepper flakes as well. Remove from the heat.
3. Cook the pasta in boiling well-salted water until just al dente (usually for less time than the package instructions indicate). Drain and toss with the bread crumb mixture. Drizzle a little more oil. Add grated cheese to taste, if you wish.
Excerpted from One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.