Poor Man’s Parmesan


I eat pasta more than any normal person should.  I have to limit myself to one time per week as a main course, though I do make exceptions that allow for a second Asian-style noodle dish, either made at home or out at a restaurant.  It’s just about the perfect food – except for the fact that it’s not crunchy.

While flavor is most important, of course, texture runs a reasonably close second when it comes to the eating experience for me.  And – hooo doggie – when I can get something that’s delicious and gives a nice crunch, I’m pretty much in heaven.  Hence my addiction to pretty much anything deep-fried.

So then why can’t pasta be crunchy, too?  Sure you could just undercook it, but that’s not what we’re going for here.  We need something that is going to elevate the dish.  We need something that will remind us about the best part of the one crunchy noodle dish already out there, mac & cheese.

We need breadcrumbs.

Not just any breadcrumbs, mind you.  Breadcrumbs pan-fried in olive oil, with some sliced garlic thrown in for added flavor.

Now, I’ll be upfront and say that this is no modern invention.  Breadcrumbs have been used as a pasta-topper for quite a while, sometimes known as a “poor man’s” alternative to topping your dish with grated cheese.  But we all know that just because something is an inexpensive option doesn’t mean it’s not delicious.

So, what does this simple topping require?  Chances are, you probably already have everything you need…

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