Eat Your Vegetables: Something crumby makes pasta even better

By Joe Yonan, The Washington Post

Carb lovers, this one’s for you. In the vein of potato pizza and squash risotto, it’s a carb-on-carb treatment that is also one of the best, time-honored pantry-friendly dishes I can think of: pasta with bread crumbs.

But not just any bread crumbs. These are fresh ones (save the dry ones for another day) that you pan-fry while the pasta is boiling away. Trust me, as soon as the smell of bread-meets-garlic-meets-olive-oil starts hitting the air in your kitchen, your intended eaters will feel the pull to the kitchen, if not the stove. Those crumbs deliver to a bowl of whole-grain pasta an all-important crunch, along with garlicky flavor enlivened with a little lemon zest.

In Italy, those bread crumbs are called muddica, as Nina Olsson writes in her lovely new book, “Bowls of Goodness” (Kyle, 2017). And while they’re the key to this dish, they’re not the only appeal. Olsson adds further nourishment to the bowl with baby spinach, an impulse I appreciated so much I ended up doubling the amount.

Even I can eat only so many carbs, as delicious as these are, at one meal without a little something green, after all.

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Bread Crumb Spaghetti

4 servings

Based on traditional Italian recipes, this dish combines crunchy, garlicky, lemony bread crumbs with whole-grain pasta and a little baby spinach for a hearty, comforting bowl.

The dish depends on good, fresh bread crumbs (not dried). To make them, tear your favorite bread (it can be stale) into chunks, drop them in a food processor and pulse until they are reduced to pieces no bigger than a pea. (Some pieces can be smaller, but you don’t want powder.)

Adapted from “Bowls of Goodness: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes Full of Nourishment,” by Nina Olsson (Kyle, 2017).

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