Leave it to Martha and her people to come up with the idea of frying pasta. (It’s quite possible they weren’t the first ones to add pasta to hot oil but it was their site where I first saw it which is why I am giving them credit).

Seriously, genius. Pasta=good. Frying=good. Pasta+frying= double good – which just might be the same as a double rainbow.

In Martha’s version she uses bow tie pasta and adds Parmesan, lemon zest and chives. Sounds great right? But I went another direction – I am horrible at following directions, well, it’s more that I just don’t like to do what other people are doing but that’s a whole other topic probably more suitable for me laying on a Chaise lounge along side my therapist taking copious notes – if I had a therapist.


The only bow ties in my house were the ones my husband wears (he’s so fashionable) so I chose penne instead. I also wanted something kind of spicy so I threw in cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne. The resulting crispy snack was like crunching into the most satisfying chips. The thick exterior of the pasta was immediately dotted with tiny bubbles once is hit the hot oil creating a shattering crunch. The salty spice rub gave the pasta a Mahogany coat of sweet and fiery flavor.

Martha had the brilliant idea but I, as Emeril would say, kicked it up a notch. I’m pretty sure she would approve and I think you will also.


Fried Penne

inspired by Martha Stewart

Crunchy, fried penne makes a wonderfully unique snack perfect for pairing with cocktails.

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more if  you need more heat in your life)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

8 oz penne pasta

3-5 cups oil

Par cook the penne in boiling salted water for 7 minutes. Immediately drain the pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Place cooled pasta on several sheets of paper towel to drain off excess water.

In a small bowl combine all the seasonings with the exception of the fresh thyme.

In a medium sauce pan add enough oil to come up the sides of the pan by 3-4″. Once oil reaches 365-375* begin frying par cooked pasta in small batches (10-15 noodles at a time).

With a spider or a slotted spoon carefully move the pasta in the hot oil to ensure even cooking. Remove the fried penne once golden (1 1/2-2 minutes per batch) and place on a platter with several layers of paper towel. Immediately sprinkle some of the spiced mixture on the hot pasta so the salt and spices cling to the penne.

Continue frying until all the penne has had a chance to bathe in oil. When ready to serve sprinkle the fresh thyme all throughout. Well sealed, fried penne can keep for up to one week.


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49 Responses to “Fried Penne”

  1. Megan

    This is such a neat idea! I always fry up leftover spaghetti and sauce in butter and let it sit in the pan on high heat so it crisps up… but throwing it in oil… wow! Sounds amazing… and I definitely need an excuse to try this very soon.

  2. tracy

    just thinking of the crunch of one of these spurred soo many delicious day dreams. Can’t wait to try that! EEP.

  3. Kristen

    On the very day I decided to stop with the fried food, I see this recipe. I may have to go back on my word… this looks pretty darn tasty!

  4. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Oh my goodness, I used to make these when I was in elementary school! We had cooking classes and we would fry the pasta and then sprinkle it with parmesan and Italian seasonings. It was one of my favorite things!

  5. Lori

    I live in Cape Town, South Africa and in one of our best food shops ( they used to make pasta chips. fried pieces of pasta that would get all those tiny little bubbles of crunchiness and that were divine when scooping up some sour cream and chive dip.

  6. Sukaina

    Ok, I swear I thought these were fries when I saw them this morning on Pinterest. I even commented on them as fries! Great idea! I deep fry noodles to make anIndian dish so I’m not surprised fried pasta exists!

  7. Tempest

    It’s great that you provide how long the food can keep! I wish more recipes did that.

  8. Todd Hart

    20 years ago the Italian Oven and Macaroni Grill used to bring a bowl of fried pasta to your table when you first sat down. My favorite was the one that was seasoned with salt and pepper.

  9. Adrianna

    Ah, you reminded me of how I used to do that in a shallow pan when I first started cooking at around 10. My mom’s way of getting me to eat pasta was to make it crispy.

  10. Stephanie S

    This sounds like it might be my second favorite snack (the first being roasted crunchy chickpeas). I’m all about the crunch and the salt!

  11. MG Atwood

    Fried is always yummy, but seriously, you couldn’t give the Gabester a little bow tie pasta? Ying and Yang, bow ties in hand…hmmmm

  12. Adam Stevens

    This is very similar to how Red Robbin used to cook many of their pasta dishes. Stir fry ingredient (sea food, veg or what not), add a bit more oil, and pre-cooked (cooled and drained) pasta. Cook till the pasta is heated back up and serve…

  13. Kankana

    I have no idea who invented it .. but once I had some frozen ravioli and the quantity was too less to go for a meal .. so I made a snack .. boiled them and fried them .. and it taste awsm!

  14. Simone

    Wow, now that is an idea… Frying pasta! It looks absolutely delicious! I saw your blog on bloglovin and well, it’s so beautiful I will definitely be back!

  15. Barbara

    Tried this with bowties; seasoned it with garlic salt. Great taste, but it nearly broke my teeth. The hubs liked it, but I don’t want broken teeth. Hard as a rock.

  16. patsy

    My families favorite place to eat in Asheville NC in the 1980’s used to serve fried pasta as a delicious free appetizer. It kept us coming back often!

  17. patsy

    It wasn’t a big hit at my husband’s b-day party. Some of the pasta was rubbery and some was hard…not what I had hoped for? 🙁

  18. connie

    FYI in St. Louis we had Jimmy’s On The Park Restaurant serving Pasta Crunchers before dinner at no charge. However, as of December – 2015 they have closed their doors after 22 years. Would love to purchase this product if available.


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