Chef Sal Passalacqua of Dimaio Cucina in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, writes: "My father's family is from Sicily and I spent my teenage years there, so that's where a lot of my culinary influences come from. At first glance, Sicilian cooking seems very simple, but that simplicity depends on using the freshest ingredients and often the combination of sweet and tart flavors. The anchovy pasta is a perfect example."
This dish is a variation on the traditional Sicilian pasta made with sardines. Anchovies have replaced the sardines, but the flavors are still very authentic.

Click Link for picture

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 anchovy fillets
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
1 large fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, very thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup dried currants
3/4 pound perciatelli (thick hollow spaghetti) or linguine

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, toasted

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add anchovies; mash with back of fork. Add onion, fennel, and red pepper. Sauté vegetables until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, pine nuts, and currants. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes to blend flavors; season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite.

Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Add saffron to reserved liquid and stir to dissolve. Return pasta and saffron water to pot. Add tomato mixture; toss over low heat until sauce coats pasta. Mix in breadcrumbs and transfer to bowl.

Test-kitchen tip: For fresh breadcrumbs, grind pieces of crustles French bread in processor to coarse crumbs. Then toast on rimmed baking sheet in 350°F oven until golden, about 10 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.
Bon Appétit
September 2005

No comments: