Saint Joseph's Day Recipe - Pasta Milanese

Saint Joseph is the patron saint of Sicily. Thanks are given to Saint Joseph for preventing a famine in Sicily during the Middle Ages. Every year on March 19* everyone gathers to prepare a large feast to honor him. Foods are traditionally served with bread crumbs to represent saw dust, since Joseph was a carpenter. Because this celebration takes place during Lent, there is traditionally no meat served at the table.

We’ve put together a traditional recipe that would be typical of a dish served for the feast, Pasta Milanese. There are many versions of this classic, but we like the way this one turns out. We add some crushed red pepper for a little kick, and Cuoco, which is a favorite Sicilian seasoning for pasta. We also finish it with our own Sicilian breading and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on top of the pasta to represent St. Joseph’s sawdust.

Give it a try, share it with your family, and celebrate all of the good things you are thankful for!


* (the date of St. Joseph’s Day may move around depending on whether it falls during Holy Week)

  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil, add fennel and onion, saute for 5 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, cook briefly, then stir in the anchovies and cook for a couple of minutes.

  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes and the can of San Marzano tomatoes, (crush them when in the pan).

  4. Add Cuoco, tomato paste, ground fennel, oregano, and red pepper flakes.

  5. Simmer sauce for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the basil at the end, just before serving

  6. In a large pot, boil the bucatini to al dente (10-11 minutes, or until it is just firm to the tooth) reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain.

  7. Combine some of the sauce with the pasta until you get the desired consistency. Thin with the pasta water if necessary.

  8. Serve the pasta with a dusting of St. Joseph’s sawdust on top (recipe below).

St. Joseph's Sawdust

  • 3 Tablespoons Glorioso's grated parmesan (Upgrade: you can also use Glorioso's Parmigiano Reggiano wedge, or our Pecorino Romano wedge and freshly grate it.)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. In a food processor, add all of the ingredients and pulse 4-5 times until mixture is well combined.

  2. Warm the bread-crumb mixture in a small pan over low heat.

  3. Serve over pasta