Sunday, August 7, 2011

Linguine sugo di olive verdi

So, I have like 900 salted anchovies in my fridge. I need to start using these suckers. The other night during my routine bedtime viewing of Molto Mario reruns, Mr. Batali whipped this up. And it had my name aaaaaaall over it.

If you are an extreme olive-phile such as myself, this will tickle you in all the right places. The anchovy lends a richness, a roundness of flavor that you wouldn't experience if you used olives alone. Without the anchovy, it would be pretty flat, one-dimensional. Like the spaghetti with anchovy carbonara I made the other month, the addition of one little salt-cured anchovy elevates something quite ordinary to complex, interesting, delicious places. Also, don't skip the bread crumbs. I've seen Mario Batali sprinkle them over dozens of fairly austere pasta dishes and always thought, what the hell? Now I get it. The texture makes this a lot of fun to eat, but they're also like concentrated little bombs of the olive oil you cook them in, too. The result is just really delicious and interesting.

I'm loving getting into Italian food as it's actually made in Italy. I'm starting to see that we in 'Murrika have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to experiencing Italian food. American Italian food bears little resemblance to Italian food in Italy. And I like the Italy version a lot more - generally sparing use of meat, emphasis on the noodle being the main event of a dish rather than the sauce, several small dishes in succession over many hours making a typical meal, encouragement of drinking wine with breakfast, it just seems like the best place in the world. Does anyone recommend a good cookbook for authentic Italian food? I'm particularly drawn to the South, like the cuisines of Sicily and Puglia.

I played with the proportions a bit according to reviews of the recipe. Do note that this serves just one person as written. I served with my favorite minted green beans to round it out.

1 salt-packed anchovy, fillets removed and soaked in milk about half an hour, then minced

2-3 oz dried linguine

~2 tbsp bread crumbs

2 garlic clove
pinch of red chili flakes
~1/3 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

First get your anchovy fillets soaking.

Now get water on for your pasta and cook it according to the package directions. This will all come together in the 20 minutes it takes to boil water and cook the pasta. When it's ready, drain and set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and then add the bread crumbs. Allow to toast until dark golden brown and delicious, 3 or 4 minutes, tossing several times to toast evenly. Remove them to a small bowl and put the pan back on the heat. Add another glug of olive oil along with the garlic clove and now-minced anchovy fillets and red chili flakes, and allow to cook until the garlic has softened and become aromatic and the anchovy breaks down. Now add the olives and toss through. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes to let the flavors combine, then add your pasta and toss through to combine. Serve in a nice wide bowl and sprinkle with the bread crumbs.

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