Monday, October 27, 2008

Spaghetti with Pangretta

Adapted from The Italian Dish

There are a lot of fabulous food blogs out there, and more are being added to the net every day. I could lose myself for hours on end if I weren't careful, so I have chosen only a few to read on a regular basis, and I rarely add any to my Google Reader unless I am really moved for fear of being lost in the cosmos.


Check this out.

I found it because the author had a review for the A16 cookbook, A16:Food & Wine, on Amazon, and I wanted to see what people are saying about this book. The Italian Dish is an amazing blog. The pictures are beautiful, and the recipes are enticing. And if they are all as good as this one, I'm in for a real treat......and so are you.

My father always spoke about a pasta Aunt Red used to make that had fresh horseradish grated on top instead of cheese. This one has breadcrumbs. I always think about my dad, but I really missed him last night because he would have LOVED dinner - this pasta with grilled lamb chops and Brussels sprouts braised in cream.

I find that anchovies have an affinity for lamb (think about a crisp salad with anchovies in it served after a leg of lamb), so I wanted to try a recipe of Guiliano Hazan's for spaghetti with tomatoes and anchovies until I realized I didn't have a copy of Every Night Italian (a lovely little book) here. As luck would have it, I found this recipe and decided it would be the way to go.

Boy, was I right. Walter doesn't usually like pasta as a side dish, and I didn't time it right to serve the pasta as a 2-ounce starter, but it turned out fine because he gobbled it up alongside the lamb chops and the Brussels sprouts, which I personally thought was a great combination.

There's a similar recipe waiting for me in Zuni, which is a variation of this, that includes cauliflower and broccoli, both vegetables I adore, so I am looking forward to cooking that more than ever.

Pasta with Pangretta*

Day-old country bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large pinches of salt, kosher or Maldon squeezed between your fingertips
2 glugs of extra-virgin olive oil
3 anchovy fillets (I'm with Simon Hopkinson on this - I prefer those packed upright in jars - not tins - to the ones packed in salt)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed of salt or vinegar
A handful of parsley, chopped
1 lemon
8 ounces spaghetti or (my favorite) spaghetti alla chitarra

Remove the crusts from the bread. (I usually save these because they are delicious toasted and buttered.) Break enough bread into chunks to make about a cup of crumbs using your food processor with the metal blade in place. Cook these breadcrumbs in olive oil until just crisp. Add salt, stir, and set aside. If you do this a little bit ahead, remove the crumbs from the pan they cooked in with a slotted spoon, and put in a bowl.

Cook the pasta al dente while you are making the sauce. You want to time this so the pasta is done at the same time the sauce is ready. This is easy because the sauce can wait for the pasta. You just don't want the pasta waiting for the sauce. (You NEVER want the pasta waiting for the sauce.)

Add 2 glugs of olive oil and the anchovies to a pan. (I used a 3-1/2 quart saucier.) Turn the heat to medium-low and stir with a wooden spoon or wooden spatula until the anchovies dissolve. Then add the garlic, and cook for about two minutes being careful not to let it burn.

Add the rinsed capers and half the parsley. Stir and cook for about a minute.

Drain the pasta, shaking the colander, but don't drain it totally dry. Add the pasta to the saucier, and toss well. Turn off the heat. Add the rest of the parsley and the bread crumbs removed from the skillet with a slotted spoon. Use your Microplane zester to grate some lemon over the top. (Don't omit the lemon. It adds a lot of delicious subtle flavor.) Toss again, and serve.

This is a recipe that would be delicious topped with an egg fried in olive oil. And I'm sure these crisp breadcrumbs would be delicious on top of my regular recipe for Spaghettini Aglio Olio.

*For some reason I think these breadcrumbs are called pangretta. I have no idea why. I could be totally wrong. If anyone knows one way or the other, please let me know!


  1. That blog goes look lovely, as does that pasta recipe. Great find, thanks for sharing!

  2. Horseradish? I never would have thought. Hm. Thanks for the tip on the blog!

  3. oops. DOES look lovely. And I would have to italicize it too, right?

  4. Hanne,

    I don't know about the italics. I didn't italicize it but maybe I should have. I'll have to check it out. I know book titles are italicized. Are magazine titles?

  5. Grazie, ragazza!

    Love the idea of the egg on top!

  6. Hello! Hopped over from White on Rice Couple. Just wanted to say I absolutely loved the story about your parents and their love letters. So romantic.

  7. I love the measurement "2 glugs of olive oil"... never seen that before until now, and just had to comment. I thought I was the only one who measured olive oil using glugs! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe with us!

  8. Wandering Chopsticks,

    Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the story.


    It is a good recipe. Check out The Italian Dish. Her site is great, and she has posted a recipe for gnocchi that looks wonderful. I am definitely going to try it soon.

  9. ohhhhhh... ahhhhhh! only a recipe like this could make me salivate w/o even seeing a picture.


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