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This recipe was on the cover of Gourmet’s April issue, which focused on regional Italian cuisine. Although I normally like to follow recipes fairly closely (after all, if you start swapping this for that, you often lose the integrity of the dish), I made a couple of changes.  I’m not a big dill fan, so I used basil instead, I had some nice Vidalia onions, so I swapped those for the red onions and I used fresh pasta instead of dried.

 

I really enjoyed this dish; the anchovies added a deep briny flavor, and the bread crumbs gave it great texture. The whole dish only took 20 minutes to make, a perfect weeknight meal. 

Pasta with spicy anchovy sauce and dill bread crumbs 
Gourmet | April 2008


Even if anchovies aren't part of your culinary heritage, the way the sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the fish interact, combined with the tactile pleasure of the crunchy bread crumbs, will have you missing your nonna no matter what your nationality.

Makes 6 servings

by Shelley Wiseman

ingredients

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a baguette)
1/4 cup chopped dill
1 pound red onions, thinly sliced (3 cups)
1 (2-ounce) can flat anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
1 pound bucatini or perciatelli pasta (long tubular strands)
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes

preparation

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook bread crumbs, stirring constantly, until deep golden and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.

Transfer bread crumbs to a bowl and toss with dill and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper.

Wipe out skillet, then cook onions with 1/4 teaspoon salt in remaining 1/2 cup oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until very soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Add anchovies and cook, mashing anchovies into onions, until dissolved.

Meanwhile, cook bucatini in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 5 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

Stir red-pepper flakes and reserved water into anchovy sauce, then add pasta and toss to combine. Add about half of bread crumbs and toss to coat. Serve sprinkled with remaining bread crumbs.

 

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