For a warming dish packed with flavour, look no further than this delicious Sicilian-inspired pasta recipe from chef and author Theo Michaels’ new book ‘Rustica’
IMAGE: MOWIE KAY
This is my take on a classic pasta dish that only uses a handful of ingredients but nonetheless captures the flavours of Sicily. Traditionally it is paired with crispy Pangritata but here instead I’ve taken my inspiration from Spain with a drier than usual version of Picada, a dense, pounded paste of fried bread, nuts, garlic and olive oil that originated in the Catalonia region as a way to thicken and flavour stews. Almonds are traditional, but some recipes call for hazelnuts, walnuts or pine nuts, as I’ve used here. You can serve this without my picada-style topping, but just remember to lift it with some chopped flat-leaf parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice instead.
Anchovy Spaghetti with Pine Nut Picada
- 350 g fresh spaghetti or 200 g dried (or any other pasta of your choice)
- 100 ml olive oil
- a small knob of butter
- 12 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- a pinch of dried chilli
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
For the Pine Nut Picada
- 50 g pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 slice of day-old bread, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat parlsey leaves
- 1 gralic clove, crushed
- finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
- First make the Picada. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan for a couple of minutes, then pulverize them in a food processor or pestle and mortar until the texture of coarse sand. Put in a small bowl.
- Line a plate with paper towels. Add the oil to the same pan and fry/sauté the bread until golden. Tip onto the paper towel-lined plate to drain and then add to the bowl with the pine nuts and crush them just a little with a pestle or the back of a spoon. Add the parsley, garlic and lemon zest to the bowl and stir to combine; it will be quite dry which is what we want for this particular dish. Set aside until needed.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions – you can put it on now if you are using dried pasta. If using fresh pasta, do it later, once the sauce has been made.
- Add the oil and butter to a large saucepan set over a medium-hot heat. Add the anchovy fillets and stir – they will start to melt into the oil. Just before the anchovies have totally dissolved, add the garlic and tomatoes (crushing the tomatoes in the pan with a fork to release their juices). Cook for a few minutes, until the tomatoes have just started to soften then remove from the heat and add the dried chilli.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add the anchovy, oil and tomato mixture and heat for a few minutes, just to help the pasta absorb all the lovely flavours. Season with a little salt (the anchovies are already pretty salty!) and pepper. Spoon the dressed pasta into bowls and sprinkle the picada over the top of each one to serve.
Recipe taken from Rustica by Theo Michaels, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£16.99). Photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small*
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