St. Joseph’s Day Pasta is also called Sawdust Pasta or Carpenter’s Pasta, and a great way to honor St. Joseph, the foster-father of Baby Jesus. Since Joseph was a carpenter by trade, it is fitting to serve a pasta that resembles sawdust — but tastes much better!
The bread crumbs are sautéed in butter to resemble wood sawdust. I love the symbology and texture. It is also a very simple, inexpensive, fast meal to make, and a delicious meatless meal to eat during Lent.
My version uses anchovies in the sauce. They dissolve in the hot oil, and no one will know they are there, however they give an umami, salty depth of flavor that is wonderful in this recipe. My Mom would often use anchovies in her sauce and just not tell anyone. When she made Pasta with Anchovies, only my Dad ate it. The kids would have nothing to do with it. Ahh, the wisdom of Mothers.
St Joseph’s Day is celebrated on March 19, and in many Italian homes, churches, and community centers it is tradition to set out food for the homeless and hungry. Favorite foods include sweets such as Zeppoles, Cannoli, and Cuccidati and beautiful loaves of braided breads in the shape of a cross. According to legend, there was a famine in Sicily many centuries ago. The villagers prayed to St. Joseph and asked his intercession before God. Their prayers were answered. With the ending of the dreadful famine, a special feast of thanksgiving was held in his honor.
I hope you get to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day with your family.
St. Joseph's Day Pasta with Buttered Breadcrumbs
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 cup sweet onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or season to taste
- 1 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes halved
- Add the salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and stir. Gently boil for 7-8 minutes or until a la dente.
- While pasta is cooking, heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on the stove. Add the breadcrumbs, mix to coat, and cook until toasted and lightly brown. Transfer breadcrumbs to a plate and set aside.
- In same skillet over medium high heat, add remaining olive oil. Toss in the anchovies, mix with a wooden spoon until dissolved. Add the garlic and onion and let cook a few minutes until translucent. Add the black & red peppers and tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add some pasta water if too dry.
- Add the hot cooked pasta right from the stockpot to the skillet and toss to coat. Add the buttered breadcrumbs on top of each serving or on top of the pasta in a large serving platter.
- Serve immediately.