November 20, 2008

Sicilian-Style Spaghetti

I didn't have any plans for dinner last night, but I noticed that I had the ingredients to make Sicilian-style spaghetti from Tyler's Ultimate cookbook...pasta, cauliflower, anchovies, raisins, nuts, parsley. And since I've had that recipe bookmarked for a while, I decided to give it a try.

It's easy enough to make...cook the cauliflower & anchovies in olive oil, steaming then sauteing, add raisins & nuts, and top with parsley, lemon, & toasted breadcrumbs.

I did have to make a few substitutions...I used pecans instead of pine nuts, plain breadcrumbs instead of panko, and I omitted the lemon.

Overall, I thought it was good...but it was dry. I ended up adding a bit more water to the finished dish and drizzled my bowl with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil. Would the addition of lemon juice, as the recipe calls for, have helped? It only calls for half a lemon, so I can't imagine that would make the dish less dry. It would, however, "brighten" it it was a bit bland. I would add garlic to the cauliflower & anchovies next time. A sprinkling of red pepper flakes would add a nice kick as well.

photo from Serious Eats

Sicilian-Style Spaghetti
Serves 4
1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into bite-size florets.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 anchovy fillets, smashed into a paste (use the side of a chef's knife)
1/4 cup raisins (I used golden raisins.)
1/4 cup pine nuts (or pecans), toasted
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped, about 1/2 cup
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Freshly grated Parmesan to taste
  • Bring a pot of salty water to boil, and preheat the oven to 350°F. In the meantime, put the cauliflower in a large skillet (12-inch, if possible) with 1/4 cup olive oil and the anchovy mash. Heat the oil over medium heat until the anchovies begin to sizzle, then add 1/4 cup water, season with salt, toss, and cover.
  • Steam for 5 minutes until somewhat tender, then remove cover, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook until the water has evaporated and the cauliflower is well-browned in the remaining oil.
  • Add the raisins and pine nuts to the cauliflower to warm them. Cover the pan and remove from heat.
  • Once the cauliflower is started, spread the panko on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Toast in the oven until crunchy and browned, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • In the meantime, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, transfer to a serving bowl, and drizzle in a two-count of olive oil. Add the cauliflower mixture, lemon juice & parsley and toss. Transfer servings to plates, and top with panko, black pepper, & Parmesan.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, I didn't see this in Sicily when I went this past March. But I did have the sardine pasta, which was interesting.

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Bookmarked: thanks! What an interesting recipe.

FOODalogue said...

I so love this combination...and you're right, the addition of lemon, anchovies and garlic. Try it again!