Rustic. We so often eat scallions raw, as an addition to salads or salad dressings. Cooked scallions offer a whole new taste dimension. Bread crumbs were used in pasta dishes during lean times as an alternative to cheese. Now they are part of the culinary repertoire. Garnish the pasta with some cheese, if you like, but it’s quite good without…

1 lb pasta (3 – 4 c dried)
1 bunch scallions
4 T olive or other vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
red pepper flakes, optional
1 c breadcrumbs
salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese, optional

1. Cook pasta according to package directions or your personal preference.

2. Meanwhile, separate scallion bulbs from the greens. Slice the bulbs. Chop the scallion greens. Reserve the scallion greens.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. When hot, add the bulbs and cook until beginning to brown some. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook, stirring for a minute. Add the bread crumbs and cook for another minute, until the breadcrumbs are toasty and oiled up.  If the pasta is not done yet, pull the skillet off the heat.

4. Once the pasta is done, drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Put the skillet back on the heat and add in the pasta and the reserved scallion greens. Toss to combine and heat through, adding some reserved cooking liquid if the dish is too dry. Season with salt and pepper and serve, with grated cheese, if you like.