Friday, January 28, 2011

Spaghetti with Anchovies and Bread Crumbs

I find it interesting that very quickly I know what Bo thinks of dinner.  Exclamations of joy escape when he loves something and while it isn't always an indication, if he is silent, here is a pretty good idea something is up.  SO when he was pleased to see pasta in his bowl then was silent during the feeding process, I had a feeling.  After some probing he finally said, "It isn't as good as some of your other creations."

I guess this should be a good sign, as this wasn't one of my creations.  My only personal touch was the addition of peas.  Otherwise it came directly from my new much lauded Sunset Cookbook.  Yes, I guess it was bound to happen sometime.  After all, they cant all be 10's right?

In fairness to the recipe, many factors could be in play.  The kitchen, while functional, is still in disarray and I am not at the top of my game.  Also, we had wheat pasta which probably soaked up the sauce more quickly than durum noodles would have (oh, his complaint was "too dry").  But either way, there are too many other recipes out there to give this one much thought.  But if you like anchovies and pasta, give it a try and let me know what you think!

Spaghetti with Anchovies and Bread Crumbs (Sunset Magazine)

6 salt-packed anchovies or 12 best-quality anchovy fillets in olive oil (see Notes), divided
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 small fresh or dried hot red chiles such as peperoncini or Thai, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup Toasted Fresh Bread Crumbs, divided (recipe below)

1. If using salt-packed anchovies, rinse them under cold water. With your fingers, pry them open along the back and lift out backbone to yield 2 fillets. Rinse fillets again to remove any fine bones; pat dry on paper towels. If using anchovy fillets in olive oil, lift out of jar or tin, leaving oil behind (no need to rinse oil-packed fillets). Finely chop 6 fillets; set aside. Cut remaining 6 fillets into 4 or 5 pieces each; set aside.

2. In an 8-qt. pot, bring 5 qts. well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender to the bite, about 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, put olive oil, garlic, finely chopped anchovies, and chiles in a deep 12-in. frying pan (with at least 2-in. sides) or wide pot and cook over low heat, stirring, until anchovies dissolve. Stir in parsley and remaining anchovies; turn off heat.

4. When pasta is almost done, set aside 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain pasta and transfer to pan of anchovy sauce. Toss quickly until all the strands are well coated. Add some reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry. Set aside 2 tbsp. bread crumbs, then add remainder to pasta and toss again.

5. Divide pasta among 8 warm bowls and sprinkle each serving with some reserved bread crumbs. Serve immediately.

Toasted Fresh Bread Crumbs

1 4-in. length (4 oz.) of an Italian-style bread with crust, such as Pugliese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 300°. Cut bread into cubes and scatter on a baking sheet in 1 layer. Bake 15 minutes, or until cubes feel dry on the outside but still moist inside.

2. When bread cubes are cool, put in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Set aside 3/4 cup firmly packed bread crumbs; save remaining for future use.

3. Heat oil in a 10-in. frying pan over medium heat just until warm (not hot). Add reserved bread crumbs and stir to coat with oil. Cook, stirring constantly, until bread crumbs are evenly golden brown and crunchy, about 5 minutes.

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