Salt-and-pepper breadsticks

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8
Salt-and-pepper breadsticks
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Print RecipePrint Recipe

When you roll and cut them with a pasta machine, these come out wonderfully thin and crisp, more like bread spears than breadsticks. Sticking out of a juice glass, they look almost architectural. Season them to fit the meal and then twist them into a variety of shapes. Unleash your inner Martha.

From the story: The party starts here


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grind the peppercorns, allspice and salt in a spice grinder until fine.


Tear off a piece of pizza dough about the size of a golf ball. Pat it flat and dust with flour on both sides. Run the dough between the rollers of a pasta machine set on the widest setting. Repeat 2 more times, dusting with more flour only to keep dough from sticking. The dough should feel fairly smooth. If it doesn’t, narrow the setting a notch and run it through once more. The dough sheet may seem short, but the breadsticks will stretch in the cutting and baking.


Cut the dough into thin strips by running it through the wide fettuccine cutter of the pasta maker. Arrange the strips on a nonstick baking sheet. The pasta machine might not cut the strips completely. Don’t worry, this is a rustic presentation -- just pull off one strip at a time. Vary the way you arrange the strips -- straight, wavy, hooked or with a circle at the top.


Brush the strips lightly with the egg white; don’t flatten them. Sprinkle generously with spice mixture.


Bake until the breadsticks are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Because they are so thin, they will cook very irregularly. Turn the baking sheet to encourage more even baking.


Let the sticks cool 2 or 3 minutes. Arrange them standing straight up in a big juice glass.

This is based on a technique I learned from cookbook author Judy Zeidler. You’ll use only a portion of the spicing mixture; store the rest in a tightly covered container and use it to season roasted or grilled meat. You can also use various seeds, such as sesame or cracked fennel.