- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 salted anchovy fillets, cleaned
- ¾ cup Gaeta olives, rinsed & pitted
- 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- Sea salt
- 1 pound paccheri
- ½ cup Pane Grattugiato Fritto (fried seasoned bread crumbs), for serving
Ingredients for Fried Bread Crumbs (Makes 2 cups)
- 8-10 slices dry rustic bread with crusts, torn into bite-size pieces
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp dried oregano or chopped fresh parsley
- Sea salt to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and anchovies and cook until the garlic begins to turn golden and the anchovies have melted into the oil, about 2 minutes. Add the olives and capers and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Turn off the heat and let the ingredients bloom in the hot oil.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt the water. When the salt has dissolved, add the paccheri and cook until al dente. Drain the paccheri, reserving the pasta cooking water, and add the pasta to the pan with the olives and capers, stirring to coat. Add some pasta cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Season with salt to taste. Plate and sprinkle each portion with the fried seasoned bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Author Note: It’s very important to use high-quality olives. With Italian south’s super-simple recipes, each flavor is conspicuous—the reason such basic recipes are so good is that they rely on ingredients at their peak. In Italy, it’s not a luxury to have a family olive grove. It’s not as common as it once was, but plenty of home cooks still have access to hand-harvested and naturally cured olives. So short of moving to Italy and befriending a farmer or buying a country house, invest in the best-quality olives you can. Avoid canned or pre-sliced olives. If you don’t have a good Italian deli in your neighborhood, look for purveyors of Greek, Turkish, North African, or Middle Eastern foods. If you can only find seasoned olives, rinse them before using, or cure your own.
Directions for Fried Bread Crumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 250F
2. In a large bowl, toss the bread, olive oil, oregano, and salt until well combined. Spread out the bread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crispy and completely dried out, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until broken down to the size of coarse coffee grounds.
3. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.