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Friday, July 17, 2015

An Alternative Recipe for Spaghetti

Pasta with tomato sauce can get old real quick. So here is an alternative that I tried this week, that Steph taught me that is delicious: spaghetti with sauteed rapini and anchovies. If you don't like anchovies, or think you won't like them, I would still urge you to try this dish because the anchovies are diced so finely and fried in their own oil, that you probably won't notice them. Their flavour counterbalances the bitterness of rapini perfectly and produces a rich and flavourful "sauce", if you can call it a sauce. It is really more of a coating, but I digress.

To prepare the sauce, mince up 5-6 cloves of garlic and chop one small to medium sized onion fine. Saute this in olive oil over medium heat until the onion is just soft, but do not allow either the onion, or the garlic to burn, as it will taste bitter if you do. When this is done, take it off the heat and set it aside. Then you wash, dry and roughly chop some rapini. I leave the stalks on, as I find that they cook up quite nicely and provide a nice crunchy texture to offset the softness of the pasta.  Finely chop two cans of anchovies that you have drained and patted dry with paper towels. Saute the rapini in a generous amount of olive oil over medium-high heat until it changes colour. Then add the chopped anchovies and fry for another minute. Add the onions and garlic mixture and saute for another minute to heat through.

When the spaghetti is cooking, reserve a ladleful of the pasta coking water in a small bowl. This water is rich in starch and provides an excellent base for the basic butter sauce that will coat the pasta after you have drained it. Drain the pasta when al dente, and then add the reserved water and 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Toss to coat the pasta and then add the sauteed rapini, anchovy, garlic and onion mixture. Toss to coat and there you have it - a restaurant quality pasta dish for under $10.

Total prep time is less than 20 min. You do the sauce while you are waiting for the water to boil and the pasta to cook. Enjoy!

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