Originally Posted by siduri
I always thought that was a northern european thing, breadcrumbs on noodles - never encountered it in italy, never heard of it. Will have to check on some italian websites, i'm intrigued.
The strascinati look really good, and one of the few kinds of home made pasta i might like, since no egg, not soft, but i imagine nice and chewy, like orecchiette. I've ever seen them. I did get a big bag of orecchette from the pugliese family of my son's girlfriend, and they were really nice.
Rick Stein had a TV programme called Mediterranean Escapes and one of the places he visited was Puglia, where he was served orecchiette with rapini and cherry tomatoes (he called them pomodori eterni), sprinkled with fried breadcrumbs (I think it's called mollica in the southern regions) and the guy who cooked it explained, upon being asked about the absence of parmesan, that that was because first, parmesan belongs to the culture of northern Italy and second, many people were so poor in the past that they couldn't afford to buy cheese nor to raise sheep, so breadcrumbs are used instead. It is also called for in a few pasta dishes in Simeti's Sicilian Food.
Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the northern egg pasta either, with the exception of stuffed pasta, of course. And tagliatelle and lasagne with ragu must be from homemade egg pasta too. But otherwise, not a big fan. I much prefer that chewy semolina pasta. I do prefer though to make my own as decent boxed pasta is very expensive here. Unlike egg dough, semolina dough is much easier to work with, in fact, it never sticks. Plus, I don't have to roll the dough, which I thoroughly dislike as I'm no good at it, the southern semolina shapes are made differently (think maccarruni, busiati or any of those of strascinati family). However, how someone can make orecchiette is beyond me. I have tried it, but it's impossibly hard to make despite the fact that it looks quite easy.
Yes, breadcrumbs are also commonly sprinkled on dumplings here in Slovakia, in Czech Republic, Austria and elsewhere. Also, sweet pirohy are served either with poppy seeds, like I did here, or with breadcrumbs toasted and mixed with melted butter and sugar.
By the way, is it true that you can't buy poppy seeds in Italy? Is it illegal?