Here in the Superspark household, we have such an affinity for fresh baked bread (always Jim Lahey’s super-simple no-knead recipe), that we routinely end up with piles of bread crusts and heels. When it’s slightly stale, we indulge in some of our absolute favorite dishes including panade, panzanella, springtime panzanella, and pappa al pomodoro . There’s a certain point at which old bread becomes a bit too old, even for our soggy bread faves. At that point it’s all about making bread crumbs. This dish makes a dent in our stockpile of bread crumbs, refashioning them into crunchy, garlicky bits. This was one of the first recipes I ever made from my favorite cookbook, Entertaining for a Veggie Planet and I still like it as alternative to a tomato-based pasta dish. Although making the bread crumbs requires a bit of prep time, this dish is a simple, delicious way to satisfy any garlic lover.
Linguine with swiss chard and garlicky bread crumbs (serves 4)
4 slices white or whole wheat bread (or about 1 cup bread crumbs)
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 bunch Swiss Chard, leaves thinly sliced, stems finely chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more to taste
1 pound dried linguine
3 tbsp freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. In a food processor, grind the bread slices into coarse crumbs. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add half of the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently until the crumbs are brown and crisp. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
2. In the same skillet, heat 2 tbsp more olive oil over medium heat. Add the chard and saute until the stems are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and the red pepper flakes and saute for 2 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and return to a boil, stirring to separate the noodles. Boil for 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, then return the paste to the pot. Add the chard mixture, the cheese, and the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, and toss well. Top with bread crumbs and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.