One of the season's champion flavor combo's — tomatoes and basil — come together in this simple spaghetti, but a perhaps unexpected ingredient is the secret: breadcrumbs. Bread on pasta? Carb on carb? If you're not familiar with the magic toasted breadcrumbs bring to pasta, get ready.
In a food processor, buzz 4 ounces country bread, 1 clove garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt to fine crumbs. Toast in a skillet in 2 tablespoons melted butter over medium heat, stirring, until crisp and brown, about 8 minutes. Set aside crumbs. Wipe out skillet. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in the skillet over medium-low. Add 5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved; 1 clove garlic, chopped; and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until tomatoes soften, 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in 3 anchovy fillets, chopped, and 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest. Toss with 1 pound cooked spaghetti. Top with the breadcrumbs, chopped basil and grated Parmesan.
Makes: 6 servings
Recipe by Leah Eskin
Pairings by sommelier Rachael Lowe, of Spiaggia, as told to Michael Austin:
Deltetto Brut, Piedmont, Italy: From a small-production, high quality, family-run winery, this nonvintage sparkling blend of chardonnay and pinot noir is made in the metodo classico, or Champagne method. It offers aromas of golden apple, bosc pear, toasted almond and brioche, with a long finish. The wine's high acidity and bubbles will intermingle perfectly with the acidity of the tomatoes while having a cleansing effect on the toasted garlic and breadcrumbs.
2015 Fillaboa Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain: Sourcing estate-grown grapes from the cooler, southern portion of Rias Baixas with its Atlantic Ocean influence, this small-production albarino was made using stainless steel fermentation and extended lees contact, resulting in a pure and lush wine. With notes of tangerine skin, apricot pith, lime blossom and a touch of minerality, this bright, aromatic wine will complement the summery acidity of the tomatoes, and cut through the Parmesan beautifully.
2014 Le Piane Maggiorina, Boca, Piedmont, Italy: This wine comes from the Maggiorina vineyards, which are planted with a mix of grape varieties that are co-fermented. A blend of nebbiolo and croatina, this wine offers notes of bright red cherries, strawberries, sage, thyme, a hint of smoke and a floral quality, which will work well with the dish's vegetables. The wine's herbal components will mirror the basil, and balanced acidity will wash everything down harmoniously.
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