Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Pasta with Spiced Soffritto and Breadcrumbs

A simple basic preparation such as Soffritto can also amaze by becoming an absolute protagonist as a seasoning for a pasta dish, especially when spiced.

With this recipe we are going to make a slightly more abundant Soffritto than usual since it’s the main seasoning and not only the basis for something else.

Serves 4, Preparation time 20 mins, Cooking time 30 mins

  • For Soffritto: 2 onions (white or red), 2 carrots, 1 large celery stalk possibly with leaves – we will use them as well
  • Garlic, 2 peeled cloves
  • Dried oregano, 1 tablespoon
  • Fresh or Dried Thyme, 1 sprig or 1 teaspoon
  • a bit of water
  • Unsalted butter, 20 g
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 4 tablespoons
  • 1 Chili pepper or flakes, 1 teaspoon
  • Breadcrumbs, to taste
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Pasta, 380 g


Dice the carrot, onion and celery stalk up to a maximum of 1 cm. The celery stalk is frayed a little before cutting it.

Tip: If you have the celery stalk with its leaves, do not discard them! Take 3/4 of them to chop, then keep aside, we will add later during cooking.

Heat EVOO and butter in a non-stick pan. Add the two cloves of garlic along with the chili pepper – or a teaspoon of chilli flakes – fry them for a couple of mins, then add all three chopped vegetables of the Soffritto : onion, carrot and celery and fry them over low heat and stir.

Now add chopped celery leaves, a drop of water if necessary, salt and pepper to taste, stir again, lower the heat and cover with a lid. Cook gently for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and taste.

Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, as soon as it boils pour pasta, then add salt. Drain al dente, add pasta to Soffritto while it is still cooking, stir well and let the pasta take on flavour.

Prepare breadcrumbs for topping: whether you made it on your own or it bought in supermarket, the method is the same.

Tip: if you don’t have old bread, use bread sticks or taralli or crackers.

Heat a tablespoon of EVOO, add breadcrumbs along with dried oregano and toast as needed. Remove the pan from the fire.

Add toasted breadcrumbs on top with a final dusting of black pepper and a drizzle of EVOO, then mix all together.

Tip: this dish is so customizable that you can add whatever you want and you have available. Do you have turmeric or curry? You’re spoilt for choice!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 4.58 out of 5)


  1. This is a wonderful addition to my weeknight repertoire. Very straightforward and easy to commit to memory, which guarantees this will be made often.

    I love the seasoned breadcrumbs! So often, the only topping for pasta seems to be grated cheese, and the breadcrumbs give a perfect flavor and texture.

    1. So pleased to hear this, thank you for your feedback, Ryan

      Yeah, grated cheese seems to be the only alternative as topping for pasta, yet toasted breadcrumbs it’s a nice and flavourful option as you have just been experimenting.

      Funny enough, actually breadcrumbs on pasta has always been the only alternative many years ago when people cannot get cheese and it’s currently very used in Sicilian and Apulian cuisine.

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