Friday, March 29, 2013

Sort of Sicilian

Reading Giorgio Locatelli's book Made in Sicily this morning got me thinking about Sicilian flavours. This recipe is not his, or traditional Sicilian, but works with Sicilian reds or grenache. Try using a pasta like strozzapretti or casarecce with this sauce, or bigoli if you want something longer.

Get a pot on for the pasta. Soak some sultanas in a cup with half hot water and half marsala. Heat a frypan and then take a handful of pine nuts to light gold, before tipping them out to cool. Then gentle heat into the frypan and start melting butter (about 45g per serve). Toss anchovy fillets, sage leaves, garlic & a fresh red chilli (chopped) into the butter. Cook slowly while the pasta water is coming up and then the cup or so of strozzapretti (per serve) or similar is cooking. Gentle heat will break down the anchovy, cook out the sage and colour the milk solids, without getting too much bitter and colour with the garlic.

When the pasta is just short of cooked, add the soaked sultanas to the frypan and mix some pasta water into the soaking cup. Use this to thin the sauce out, shaking the pan to emulsify. Don't worry you are losing the crispness on the sage. All part of the plan. Drain the pasta and tip into the pan with the sauce. Add more of the pasta water/soaking liquid mixture if it needs it. Cook out for a minute or two to let the pasta take the sauce. Add the pine nuts and a little black pepper. The sauce should be salty from the anchovies, savoury from the herbs and garlic and a little sweet from the sultanas and marsala, with the nut brown butter pulling it together.

Serve with a good Sicilian red wine, or some McLaren Vale grenache. No cheese. Maybe a little breadcrumbs if you use bigoli. Resist the temptation to use lemon juice in the sauce - you want the wine to bring the acid to the table.

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