Surplus-saving spaghetti!*

Bread pasta with oil, herbs and chilli flakes.. Credit: Chris Young / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Bread pasta with oil, herbs and chilli flakes.. Credit: Chris Young / CC-BY-SA-4.0

It’s probable that people in Italy have been turning stale bread into pasta for as long as, well, there has been bread and pasta.

It's a simple and cheap way to turn stale slices and leftover crusts into something to feed your family, rather than your compost bin. 

Zero waste

The Real Bread Campaign encourages working to eliminate having surplus/leftover bread in the first place, so you don't have to think how to prevent it from becoming food waste.

*Yes, the pictured version isn't spaghetti but we're suckers for alliteration.


  • Surplus / stale Real Bread
  • Water: around 66% the weight of the bread
  • Flour: around 33% of the weight of the bread

For example

  • 150g Real Bread
  • 100g water
  • 50g flour


  • Crumb, grate or chop the Real Bread into smaller pieces. Weigh and add water weighing about two thirds as much as the bread, then leave to absorb for a few minutes.
  • Using a blender, liquidizer or food processor, blend the bread and water to a pulp.
  • Add to the pulp flour weighing about a third as much as the bread and knead/work it to form a fairly stiff dough. 
  • Cover and leave until needed. You can leave in the fridge for up to a few days, if necessary.
  • Shape the dough however you want.*
  • Boil water in a kettle (more energy efficient than a hob), pour into a large pan, add salt (if desired), bring back to the boil, add the pasta and leave to cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until all of the the pasta floats to the top.
  • Drain/strain and serve with just butter or oil, a simple tomato sauce, a grating of cheese, or however you like your pasta.

*Simple options include rolling it out to a sheet 2-3mm thick and cutting to form lasagne, tagliatelle or pappardelle using a pasta machine or a rolling pin and knife.  Another (pictured above) is rolling the dough into a sausage about 1cm in diameter, cutting off pieces about 4mm wide and then flattening each disc in the middle between your finger and thumb.



You can use any plain, savoury Real Bread – white or wholemeal, yeasted or sourdough.

For how to make other shapes, search the internet for instructions and endless videos of Italian nonnas skilfully working their dough.

If you want something a bit richer, passatelli is a version most associated with the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. It's made with the addition of egg, cheese and sometimes other ingredients, such as lemon - every town/village’s and family’s recipe differs

Other recipes for pasta made from bread include this one made with egg from our friend, chef Tom Hunt, published by the Guardian; and one made with just bread and flour from Finnish zero waste restaurant Nolla, published by No Mise en Plastic.

Recipe text © Chris Young / the Real Bread Campaign. Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder.

Social sharing

If you make this, please share your photo(s) with the world on social media using #RealBread and other relevant hashtags, linking back to this recipe. Better still if we can see you in the photo, too: #WeAreRealBread!

Please don't forget to tag us, and the recipe's author. You can find us on:


Published Monday 17 June 2024

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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