The Ingredient Bobby Flay Adds To Pasta For A Bit Of Crunch

No matter what type of pasta dish you're making, it likely consists of two main components: pasta and sauce. You can't beat the simplicity of a cacio e pepe, and even just marinara with spaghetti hits the spot. Of course, there are also plenty of ways to upgrade the most basic pastas. You can mix in meat and vegetables, fill it out with beans, or balance out the sweetness of the tomatoes with a dash of instant coffee (yes, that's actually a thing). As far as garnishes go, you might see a sprig of basil on top, a drizzle of olive oil, or some freshly-grated parmesan cheese.

All of these options certainly do the job in taking the flavor up a notch and adding a bit of visual appeal while still letting the dish's main ingredients shine. As the Michelin Guide shares, balance is one of the most important elements of a dish, and that balance applies to texture as much as flavor. So just how do you achieve good balance? When it comes to pasta, there's a certain crunchy ingredient Bobby Flay relies on.

Breadcrumbs are Bobby Flay's go-to

According to the celebrity chef (via Food Network's FN Dish), pasta — as well as many of the other dishes he makes — isn't complete unless it's topped with breadcrumbs. The added crunch goes such a long way in improving a dish that Flay credits the ingredient to helping him win his cooking competition show, "Beat Bobby Flay," time and time again. "These guys are so good. They are amazing chefs," he recounts of the contestants on the show, "but when I put the crunch in there, it's a little extra thing that the judges like."

Flay prefers using panko-style breadcrumbs for his pasta, but instead of just using them straight from the package, he first toasts them in a pan and mixes them with a few extra ingredients: butter, minced garlic, kosher salt, black pepper, and lemon zest. Flay clarified during a live cooking demonstration shared on Food Network that this breadcrumb mixture can be made in advance since it lasts for several days. When you're ready to serve your pasta, you can simply sprinkle it on top and enjoy your crunchy dish.