Pasta with St. Joseph’s Sawdust

Pasta with St. Joseph's Sawdust

St. Joseph’s Sawdust is a classic pasta dish for Louisianians of Sicilian descent. The dish is part of a ritual meal that is traditionally served on March 19th for St. Joseph’s Day.

Pasta with St. Joseph’s Sawdust
Serves 6
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  1. 2 cups fresh bread crumbs*
  2. 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  3. 2¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  4. 1 pound spaghetti
  5. 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  6. ¼ cup sliced garlic
  7. 8 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, divided
  8. ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  9. 3 teaspoons lemon zest, divided
  10. Garnish: fresh oregano
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  3. Bake until lightly browned and crisp, 7 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool.
  4. Cook pasta in salted boiling water until tender. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid.
  5. In a large Dutch oven, heat remaining 5 tablespoons olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add garlic; cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add pasta, half of breadcrumbs, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, 6 tablespoons oregano, red pepper, and 2 teaspoons lemon zest; toss well. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid, if needed, to moisten. Spoon into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons oregano, and remaining 1 teaspoon zest. Garnish with oregano, if desired.
  1. *We used 4 (1-ounce) slices of French bread to get 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs.
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