Pantry Pasta with Calabrian Chiles + Breadcrumbs

Pantry Pasta with Calabrian Chiles + Breadcrumbs is the type of recipe I turn to when I don't want to go grocery shopping because I always have these staples on hand. Despite a humble ingredient list, this dish takes olive oil, anchovies, tomato paste, and Calabrian chiles to create a savory, spicy pasta you won't be able to stop eating. I layer flavor by practically caramelizing everything that goes into the sauce, and two ingredients in particular here add a major punch of flavor – tomato paste and anchovies. Calabrian chiles add heat and a subtle fruitiness I can't get enough of. Bring it all together with fresh herbs and crispy breadcrumbs.\

Since this recipe relies on few ingredients for major flavor I swear by a few products. I lean on good quality extra virgin olive oil in my kitchen, and I'm excited that I was able to collaborate with my friends at Graza for this recipe. I *love* their Sizzle and Drizzle extra virgin olive oils! In addition to Graza extra virgin olive oil, I love using Agostina Recca Anchovies and Tutto Calabria Calabrian Chili Paste.

Pantry Pasta with Calabrian Chiles + Breadcrumbs

Despite a humble ingredient list, this dish takes pantry staples—olive oil, anchovies, tomato paste, and Calabrian chiles —to create a savory, spicy pasta you won't be able to stop eating. Serves 4.

Prep:
10
min
cook:
25
min
total:
35
min
Ingredients

Breadcrumbs:

  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Pasta:

  • 12 oz dried pasta, any shape
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped 
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 8 anchovies, kept whole (or more if you're into it - sometimes I do 10-12, or even a whole jar for a super intense flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Calabrian chili paste, divided  (1T for cooking, 1T for finishing)
  • 1 cup pasta cooking water, plus more for loosening up the sauce if desired
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, plus more for finishing if desired
  • Roughly chopped fresh parsley or oregano for serving

Instructions

Crisp the breadcrumbs

  1. To large heavy bottomed skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium. Add panko breadcrumbs, season with kosher salt, and stir to combine. Cook for around 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove breadcrumbs from skillet and transfer to small bowl—you’ll top your pasta with this later. Wipe your skillet clean.

Boil the water + make the sauce

  1. Bring large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
  2. In same skillet used for breadcrumbs, heat 1/3 cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and anchovies, stir to combine, and season with kosher salt. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until onions have softened and anchovies have almost completely melted. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute or so.
  3. Add tomato paste and 1 tbsp of Calabrian chili paste, and give everything a big stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the whole mixture starts to caramelize. Season as needed with kosher salt.

Cook the pasta + toss into sauce for serving

  1. Cook the pasta just shy of al dente, it'll finish cooking in the sauce. Before you drain the pasta, set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water, as you'll use this to loosen up the sauce.
  2. Transfer the cooked pasta to your sauce in the skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup of pasta cooking water, the other tablespoon of Calabrian chili paste, and 2 tablespoons salted butter, and toss until combined.
  3. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen up the sauce, being sure to season and taste as you go. Add few more knobs of butter if desired - it will add richness, cut the spice if needed, and to make an extra glossy sauce.
  4. Transfer to bowls and top with generous amounts of fresh herbs and your previously made crispy breadcrumbs.
Let's riff
  • The Pasta: I love bucatini for twirling or something with nooks and crannies for catching the sauce. Use your favorite GF pasta to keep it gluten free if needed.
  • The Anchovies: Please use them! I promise you'll love them. If you're a vegetarian, feel free to leave 'em up and just up the amount of tomato paste for an extra punch of flavor. I swear by this brand for cooking!
  • The Calabrian Chiles: This ingredient packs a ton of heat. They're spicy, a little acidic, a little fruity, and I am straight-up obsessed with them. If you're not big on spice, start with 1 tablespoon to incorporate while cooking and omit the rest for finishing. Sub in a few generous pinches of crushed red chili flakes if needed.
  • The Breadcrumbs: Add perfect crunchy texture. Skip 'em if you're in a hurry. Sub in your favorite GF brand to keep it gluten free.

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Jenna Symon
July 15, 2024
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Sherman Cruz
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Ludie Key
March 23, 2024
Gini
March 20, 2024
Loved the soup. Croutons too much trouble. Fast in a cup!
Ray Beall
March 16, 2024
Richard
February 22, 2024
send me fruits to add with another fruit to cure disease
Deneen Medland
April 17, 2023
Kelle Trouton
April 17, 2023
Caroline
January 23, 2023
I made this same amazing salad with the following additions: I used a bed of chopped romaine hearts, and squeezed the juice of all the trimmed cara cara oranges, plus 1/2 lemon, added a drizzled of Tupelo honey on top. The herbs: chopped fennel fronds and mint. Everyone went crazy for it!
Marcus
YUM! Definitely going to pair this with a nice and funky natty white next time!
Caroline
January 23, 2023
I made this same amazing salad with the following additions: I used a bed of chopped romaine hearts, and squeezed the juice of all the trimmed cara cara oranges, plus 1/2 lemon, added a drizzled of Tupelo honey on top. The herbs: chopped fennel fronds and mint. Everyone went crazy for it!