This dish is a variation of a recipe by Alastair Little found on the BBC’s Food website and came about for two reasons. The first is that I really do need to eat more vegetables and the second is that I was given some purple sprouting broccoli by my friend Joy, who, in turn had been given it by her neighbour who grew it. Joy decided to share her bounty (along with three sticks of rhubarb) with me.
The variation is the inclusion of red onion and cherry tomatoes which don’t appear in Mr Little’s recipe.
What you’ll need for two people as a main course is:
1 red onion peeled and sliced
8oz/225gr purple sprouting broccoli
20 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
2 cloves garlic peeled
1 fresh chilli.
1 small tin of anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained*
Good quality olive oil
8oz/225gr pasta – choose between fusilli, penne rigate or, as I used in my recipe, tortiglioni
Grated parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
Salt and pepper
* If, like my niece Natalie, you don’t care for anchovies, or you wish to make the dish purely a veggie one omit the anchovies – the dish will be just as tasty. If you do like anchovies but don’t want to use the whole tin use half instead.
What you’ll need to do:
Put on a large pan of salted water to boil.
Whilst the pasta water is coming to the boil prepare the broccoli by trimming the outer leaves and woody stalks. Once done cut the brocoli into small pieces about 1cm/½.inch
Chop the garlic, chilli and anchovies finely. I used my Cuisinart Mini Processor which does the job very well. NB When it comes to prepping the chilli, if you like your dish fiery then chop the chilli whole including the seeds (hottest bit). If you prefer a milder dish them slice the chilli in half and scrape away the seeds and discard then chop the chilli.
Once the pasta water has boiled add the pasta to the water, stir and cook according to taste or to the time suggested on the packet.
In the meantime take a large sauté pan or frying pan with high sides and place on the heat and slop in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced red onion and cook over a low heat (you do not want the onions to brown or burn but be translucent) stirring from time to time.
Add the garlic/chilli/anchovy mix and stir coating the onions. Then add the broccoli allowing it to cook a little then add the tomatoes and stir together.
At this point check the seasoning – the anchovies may be salty enough and all you need do is add a little ground pepper (black or white) if you wish.
Add a little (small ladle-full) of the pasta water to the brocoli/onion mix and let it bubble.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and tip into the sauté pan and mix well.
If you wish, at this stage shower the contents of the sauté pan with the grated cheese (the amount of which is down to your taste) stirring so that it all gets well coated and you are ready to serve.
This is an adaptation of a Waitrose recipe which appeared in one of its periodic MyWaitrose members’ mailings. The original recipe called for sardines but because I don’t care for sardines I decided to modify the recipe. And in doing so I added some onion, a little stock and changed linguine for spaghetti – only because I didn’t have any linguine to hand when I made this dish the other evening.
Like a number of my recipes this one, too, may be tweaked further. If you don’t care for anchovies you can swap them or simply leave them out particularly if you wish to make it a vegetarian dish.
To say the fennel is caramelised is a little bit of a misnomer insofar that no sugar is used but rather the fennel is cooked over a high heat to brown it a little and give a caramel colour to the vegetable.
What you’ll need for two people as a main course or four people for a first course:
200g/7oz (or more depending on appetites) spaghetti or linguine
1 tin anchovies
1 fennel bulb finely sliced. Reserve the fronds
Half an onion finely chopped
Half a mug of chicken or vegetable stock*
Hot chilli flakes
Juice of half a lemon
* I use (among other stock cubes and concentrated stock) Knorr’s Touch of Taste liquid stock in bottles. I find this ideal if you wish to make just a small amount of stock rather than having to make up 500ml of the stuff when using a stock cube.
What you’ll need to do:
Put a large saucepan of water to boil for the pasta, salting the water. Once the water comes to the boil, add your pasta and cook according to the packet instructions or to taste.
Whilst the pasta is cooking heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. You may use the olive oil from the tinned anchovies if you wish – I did a half-and-half, a bit of the anchovy oil and olive oil.
Add the fennel and fry over a high heat for 4-6 minutes stirring often until the fennel turns a caramel colour and has softened. Remove from the frying pan to a dish and keep warm.
Reduce the heat and add the chopped onion to the frying pan and fry the onions a little. (Add a little more olive/anchovy oil if you think the pan might need it). Add the anchovies to the onions and fry gently breaking up the anchovies with a wooden spoon. They will start to melt into the onion/oil mix.
Add the stock and bring to the boil. A half-mug of stock isn’t too much but what you are aiming for is the stock to reduce to a nice glossy consistency. Return the fennel to the frying pan and mix together.
Drain the cooked pasta and add to the fennel, onion and anchovy sauce (add a little pasta water if you wish), add the chilli flakes and lemon juice and mix all together allowing the sauce to bubble a little and coat the pasta.
First I would like to wish you a happy New Year and apologise for the paucity of recipes since I started last May!
To my family and friends who have gently reminded me from time-to-time to get on with posting recipes, thank you for your gentle chiding – here we go!
I have wanted to try this recipe for a while since watching Rick Stein cook it in Venice during his From Venice to Istanbul television series for the BBC. It has become one of Mr. Stein’s favourite dishes and having cooked it last night, I can see why. It is incredibly easy to cook and absolutely delicious!
Bigoli is a type of pasta made in Venice. It is rather like thick spaghetti and quite difficult to get hold of outside of Venice. I happen to have some Pici Senesi which is a Tuscan pasta almost the same – a speciality of Siena where I bought it last year and which I used last night. If you haven’t got any bigoli or pici senesi lurking in your larder Mr. Stein suggests using bucatini instead but I am quite confident that good old spaghetti will do the job just as well though the sauce does lend itself very well to a thicker type of pasta.
What you’ll need for two people as a main course or four people as a first course is:
200 – 250g (depending on how hungry you are) of either bigoli, pici senesi, bucatini or spaghetti
Salt for the pasta water.
60ml olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
8 anchovy fillets (tinned). NB There are usually about 8 fillets in the small oblong tins you buy in the supermarkets. Just in case, have a spare tin to hand.
250ml chicken stock
Black pepper – around 10 twists of the mill.
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley chopped.
What you’ll need to do:
Bring a large pan of salted water to boil for the pasta.
In a large frying pan heat the olive oil over a medium heat and then add the onion and garlic. Cook slowly for 10-15 minutes until soft.
Add the anchovies giving them a good stir round the pan which will help break them up. Interestingly anchovies very quickly start to break down once introduced to heat.
Add the chicken stock and let the sauce simmer until two-thirds of the liquid has evaporated. What you want is a nice glossy coating sauce.
Taste and season with black pepper then set aside and keep warm whilst the pasta is cooking
Cook the pasta you have chosen until al dente or to your liking. (If you are using bigoli or pici senesi for the first time you may be surprised by the length of time it takes to cook – about 23 or more minutes for the pici senesi for example)
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Coat the pasta with the sauce whilst stirring in three-quarters of the parsley.
Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top of each portion when serving.
I did not include salt in the list of ingredients other than for the pasta water because the saltiness of the anchovies and any salt in the chicken stock is sufficient for the dish. If you think you may need more salt then add it at the black pepper stage but I don’t think that you will.
As you can see I drank the delicious Lugana (Zenato Villa Flora) from Lake Garda – available from Waitrose.