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Loaf of bread that can be used in Bread is Gold book

Bread is Gold

Famed Italian chef Massimo Bottura has long fought against food waste. In his book, Bread is Gold, the world’s top chefs describe their experiences working with Bottura. We present some of their recipes.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Garry Messick.

Renowned Italian chef Massimo Bottura has long been concerned with issues of food waste, and is dedicated to the proposition that quality meals shouldn't be exclusively available to those who can afford to frequent expensive restaurants.

In 2015, he helped create the Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan, where some of the world's top chefs cook for homeless and impoverished residents.

What you need to know

An urgent need exists to reduce the amount of food that is wasted each year. Massimo Bottura has created recipes in his book that salvage stale food so that it is not wasted and it tastes delicious!

In the process, Bottura wanted to prove that "salvaged food, overripe or bruised and beyond expiration dates, as well as scraps and trimmings that otherwise would be thrown away were not only edible, but even delicious."

That experience led to Bottura's book, Bread is Gold, in which chefs who participated in the Refettorio Ambrosiano describe their experience of working on the project and provide some of the recipes that they employed.

Bottura emphasizes that you don't have to be a professional cook to make these dishes, many of which, such as the three collected on the following pages, focus on healthy ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil and various fruits and vegetables.

The chef asks his readers to think twice before throwing out food that may look a bit past its prime. "One-third of the food we produce globally is wasted every year, including nearly four trillion apples," he says. "If we don't do something about it now, the numbers will only get worse."


Serves 6

Chicken Cacciatore  
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 8 plum tomatoes or other tomatoes of similar size, sliced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 7 oz (200 g) stale bread, torn into chunks
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 basil leaves

Put the onion slices in a bowl of cold water with a pinch of salt and leave to soak for 1 hour.

Place the tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and let drain.

Place the bread in a large bowl and moisten with the vinegar. Drain the onion and add to the bowl, along with the bell pepper and capers. Gently press the tomatoes with your hands to squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Reserve the juice and transfer the tomatoes to the bowl with the bread.

Add the garlic to the tomato juice, then whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly. Roughly tear half of the basil leaves and sprinkle on top. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Serve in bowls and garnish with the remaining basil leaves.

Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Chili Pepper

Serves 6

Toasted breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 7 oz (200 g) stale bread, coarsely crumbled (about 2 cups)


  • 1/3 cup (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small fresh red chili
  • 1 ½ lb (700 g) spaghetti
  • Salt

Make the Toasted Breadcrumbs

In a medium pan, warm the olive oil and garlic over low heat for 1 minute. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until crunchy and golden, about 2 minutes. Remove the garlic and set aside.

Prepare the Pasta

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, garlic and chili and heat over medium heat. Warm until the oil begins to sizzle and the garlic begins to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit. Remove the garlic and chili before tossing with the pasta.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserving some of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta well, and return to the cooking pot. Add the flavored oil and 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid and toss to coat. Garnish with the toasted breadcrumbs and serve immediately.

Zucchini with Eggplant Puree

Serves 4

  • 1 lb 2 oz (500g) eggplant (aubergine)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 plums, pitted and cut into medium pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ oz (20 g) pancetta, diced
  • 4 small zucchini (courgettes), halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil

Char the eggplant (aubergine) over the open flame of a stove burner all over until the skin is completely blackened. (If you don't have a gas stove, char under a hot broiler [grill].) Peel the skin. Transfer to a blender, add the garlic and olive oil, and process until smooth. Add a little water to loosen, if necessary. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the plums, vinegar, and capers and mix. Let marinate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, cook the almonds and pancetta over medium heat until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to the plum mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.

Lightly salt the zucchini (courgettes) and set aside in a colander to drain for 10 minutes. Dry with paper towels.

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In a medium frying pan, heat the corn oil over high heat. Add the zucchini cut side down, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and transfer to paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a spoonful of the eggplant puree on each plate and top with the zucchini. Garnish with the plum mixture.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

To order Bread is Gold, call 1-800-544-4440.