Friday, January 28, 2011

Pasta with Breadcrumbs and Herbs

Like most people, I have a certain stable of dishes that I go back to over and over again. Obviously, I am always trying to push myself creatively and culinarily, but sometimes you just want to cook something you already know how to make, something you already know is delicious. This is one such recipe that I have been making for years, and was so easily veganized that it was almost a premonition of my future food life. It’s also totally seasonal and adaptable to your personal tastes, not to mention quite easily thrown together from the cupboard/freezer/garden.

The other amazing thing about this dish is how much better it was once I made it vegan.  I notice this more and more, but removing the dairy from my diet has been like turning up my taste buds. Everything tastes brighter, fresher, and simply more alive. It’s as though the simple act of sprinkling parmesan cheese over the top of my pasta, dulls everything it touches. This is something I could never give up.

2 slices whole wheat bread
1/3 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup basil
1/3 cup parsley
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon oregano
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound perciatelli

In a food processor, blend the bread and almonds into fine crumbs. Lay in a shallow layer in a rimmed baking sheet. Broil on high until golden brown and dry, about 5 minutes.

Wipe the breadcrumbs from the inside of the food processor. Remove all the herbs from their stems, and combine in the food processor. Add the garlic clove. Pulse until finely minced, but not mushy.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the perciatelli according to the instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta liquid.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs and herbs, and sauté briefly, about 1 minute. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Add pasta liquid if it seems too dry. Serve immediately.

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