This is one of the first dishes that my father taught me to make. I grew up on an acreage, and we had a lot of vegetables and work to do around the garden—I would pick the parsley, garlic and fresh pepperoncini for this dish and then I’d watch him prepare it. I remember eating this every summer with him as far back as I can remember—I would always get a cold glass of my father’s homemade white wine with a little 7Up in it. As I grew up, I started making this simple pasta as a late-night bite—and sometimes my father would smell the garlic frying and we would have a plate of pasta together at 2 a.m.
2–3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ cups day-old bread, ripped into small pieces
1 garlic clove, whole
500 grams spaghetti
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 salt-packed anchovies, rinsed and soaked in water for 10 minutes
1 handful flat-leaf Italian parsley, leaves removed from stems and roughly chopped
1 tsp chili flakes (add more if desired)
¼ cup pecorino cheese, finely grated
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 glass white wine
To make pangrattato, gently fry the garlic clove in olive oil over medium heat until golden. Add bread and a pinch of salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until bread crumbs are golden. Remove garlic clove.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a handful of salt. Cook spaghetti until al dente (about 1–2 minutes less than package instructions). Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep frying pan (large enough to comfortably hold all of the pasta). Add garlic and anchovies and fry until garlic is golden, stirring frequently. Add white wine and chili flakes and continue to cook for 4 minutes.
Increase heat to high and add spaghetti, reserved pasta cooking water and parsley. Cook for 1 minute in the pan, stirring frequently. Once sauce is just coating the pasta, remove from heat and toss in the pecorino. Divide pasta between 4 bowls and sprinkle the pangrattato on top. Serve immediately.