St. Joseph’s Spaghetti is pasta coated with olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and a few optional ingredients to take it over the top. Then it’s topped with toasted breadcrumbs and tossed right before serving. Traditionally it’s served on March 19th, but you can enjoy it any day.
This is the food I grew up on and we didn’t have to wait for March 19th to enjoy it. My uncle and aunt would whip this up in minutes. It’s considered peasant food because the ingredients are things you would have in your pantry and they’re inexpensive. I feel the peasant food I grew up on from the Peruvian and Italian side of my family is some of the most delicious food.
The best way to experience this dish is to make your own breadcrumbs from leftover bread. Because my family either made their own bread or bought fresh bread from a bakery, it would start to turn hard if not used in a few days. Remember, we don’t use preservatives to make our own bread so it would start to harden after a day or two.
They would pile the leftover pieces in a big bowl where it would dry up. I wrote about that here. I’ve only had/made this dish with fresh breadcrumbs so I can’t tell you how it would come out if you used fine or panko.
You will use quite a bit of extra virgin olive oil for this dish but that’s what makes it delicious. The garlic is sautéed in the oil which also includes a pinch of crushed red pepper to make it zing.
There are a few more ingredients you can add to make it go from rags to riches. My uncle Tony would add anchovies and they would melt into the sauce. If you don’t want anchovies or don’t have them then don’t use them. The anchovies do give it that extra something that makes this dish delicious. Don’t think you’d like anchovies? If you’ve ever used Worcestershire sauce to make your recipe have flavor, then you’ve had anchovies.
You can also add some chopped pine nuts if you happen to have some on-hand. It’s an expensive item, but I buy it in bulk and use it to make my pestos. Life is too short for mediocre food, right? You can substitute some chopped walnuts if you like or just leave out the nuts.
Pasta water is added to the garlic oil to make the sauce along with some salt and pepper. Add what you like to make it taste good. After you combine the pasta with the sauce, transfer it into a bowl then top with the golden toasted breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs will stay crisp for only so long. I mean bread mixed with sauce, well you get it, right? For that reason, I don’t toss until I’m ready to serve or I serve some pasta and top with the crumbs.
Served with some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and supper is ready. Mangia!
Tools you’ll need to make St. Joseph’s Spaghetti:
Like pasta? Try:
- Angel hair with sautéed tomatoes
- Sausage pasta bake with mozzarella
- Simply delicious spinach and cheese pasta salad
- Spaghetti with garlic butter and cheese
- Baked rigatoni with three cheeses
- American chop suey
- Creamy fettuccine with peas and ham
Life is too short for mediocre food.
This post contains affiliate links for the products I use in my kitchen.
St. Joseph’s SpaghettiPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 4 ounces crusty bread more or less
- 4 tablespoons butter*
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more if needed
- 8 garlic cloves minced
- 2 ounces anchovies finely chopped, totally optional**
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts roughly chopped***
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
- Kosher salt
- Parmesan or Romano cheese for topping optional
- Process the bread in a food processor to make coarse breadcrumbs. You should have about 3 cups.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until it’s al dente.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring often, to coat the breadcrumbs with the butter or olive oil. If using olive oil and not salted butter, sprinkle in a little salt. Continue until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer crumbs into a bowl and set aside. Wipe skillet clean.
- Add the olive oil to the skillet and add the garlic. Give it a quick stir then sprinkle in crushed red pepper.
- Stir in anchovies, if using.
- Add in pine nuts and stir. Stir in chopped parsley. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
- When pasta is cooked to al dente, drain, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.
- Add the pasta into the skillet and stir to coat. Add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to create a sauce. You can add more to your liking.
- Plate the pasta onto a large platter and drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs around the edge. I don’t toss it all together because I don’t want the breadcrumbs to soften. When serving, give it a quick toss or serve the pasta and top with crumbs.
- Serve with grated Parmesan or Romano.
**Anchovies are optional but give a nice taste to this dish.
***You can substitute walnuts or leave out nuts entirely.