This combination of anchovies with golden raisins achieves a rich, complex, and delicious result without a heavy tomato sauce. The flavors are typically Sicilian and pairs beautifully with fusilli. Add in broccoli, blistered to charred perfection in a hot pan, and you have a complete meal.
If you are a vegetarian or don’t eat anchovies (or simply just don’t like them), you can replace them with a tablespoon of soy sauce or miso or a 1/4 cup of chopped black olives. All those will give you a similar salty, briny, umami filled jolt. I used a gluten free fusilli but use whatever pasta shape you have in your pantry, fresh or dried.
- 1 large bunch of broccoli (or cauliflower), florets roughly chopped and stalks peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 2 leeks or 1 onion or 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste or equivalent of finely chopped whole anchovies
- Pinch of saffron threads (leave out if not available)
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes, preferably oil packed, drained and minced
- 1/2 cup of golden raisins, or regular
- 1/3 cup of pine nuts, toasted in a small dry skillet until golden brown
- Pasta of choice (I used a gluten free fusilli)
- Grated parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese for serving OR soft goat cheese (my choice)
- Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heart.
- Add the leeks or onion or shallots and saute until soft and slightly browned on the edges.
- Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute. Stir in the anchovy, saffron, sun-dried tomatoes, raisins, and pine nuts.
- Continue to cook over low heat until the flavors blend, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the mix to a small bowl using a slotted spoon. Reserve the skillet for the broccoli.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for your pasta. Cook according to the directions until just al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
- While the pasta is cooking, start the broccoli
- Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in the skillet. Add the broccoli and toss to combine with the oil. Shake the skillet so the broccoli settles in an even layer. Cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. Toss to rearrange and cook again, undisturbed, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet along with the reserved Sicilian sauce. Toss to combine, adding some of the pasta cooking water if it seems dry.
- Taste for salt (anchovies are salty).
- Serve with grated cheese or crumbled goat cheese.
We have been trying to skip the meat a few times a week and this was an extremely successful dish. The combination of flavors and textures…a little sweet, salty, briny, rich, crunchy and smooth…were winners.
Inspiration came from a recent recipe in the NY Times and Cold Weather Cooking by Sarah Leah Chase (co-author of the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook).
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