Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's been quite a while since I've posted.  I've wanted to, but there hasn't been much to say.  The weather has been stuck in this unpleasant loop of alternating between sunny and sort-of warm, and cold and windy and damp, and I've been letting work and irrational stress get the better of me.  These things have meant that I haven't really gone out and done much, but I'm starting to snap out of it, starting to regain control, to balance work and life.  Part of that has been through cooking.  I actually threw together dinner for us tonight, using things we had at home already.  The recipe comes from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and was a perfect opportunity to try out my recent attempt to make salt-packed anchovies.

About a month ago we chanced upon a single remaining pack of already-filleted (!!!) white anchovies at H Mart, the Korean supermarket we go to every week for fish.  I had no idea what to do with them at first, but I just had this feeling that they were something I shouldn't pass up.  After some cursory Googling, it seemed all you had to do to store your own anchovies was pack them with a bunch of salt in a jar and leave them in the fridge for at least a few weeks.  I was skeptical, but it really worked---these are the best anchovies I've ever had.  Because they're still young, they have a really light flavor that is quite unlike the oil-packed anchovies you usually find in tins, and they don't break down as easily when cooked, so you end up with oil that's infused with anchovy flavor + little fried bits of anchovies that add a really nice punch of flavor every few bites.  If you ever come across fresh anchovies at the market, do not hesitate.  It really is that easy.

This recipe is too.  I've adapted it a bit from the original, adding butter to the sauce and roasting the broccoli rather than boiling it, but otherwise it's true to the original Italian ethos of simplicity.  As always, the quality of the ingredients is really important here.  Use the best anchovies you can find, salt-packed preferrably, and a short pasta like orecchiette or conchiglie.  I didn't have orecchiette this time, so I used this cute flower-shaped one (campanelle) and it worked just as well.

Pasta with Broccoli and Anchovies

1/2 pound short pasta
1 pound broccoli
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
8 large anchovies
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano

Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta til al dente, according to instructions.

Meanwhile, cut broccoli floret and stems into bite-sized pieces, toss with olive oil, and roast at 425 F until tender.

Also meanwhile, warm oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add anchovies and cook over medium low until the anchovies have dissolved into the oil, breaking them up with the back of a spoon.  When broccoli is ready, add to the sauce with the red pepper and cook for another couple minutes, coating the broccoli with the anchovy sauce.  When pasta is ready, add to the pan with the sauce and stir well to coat.  Transfer all to a large serving bowl, top with pecorino, and toss to coat.  Serve with freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste.

No comments:

Post a Comment