Friday, December 11, 2009

Spaghetti with Spinach and Anchovies


This dish makes an excellent weeknight dinner. It's very fast, and the flavors are simple but satisfying. I like spinach fine, but generally prefer its flavor to be kept in the background. However, in this dish it really works well with the garlic and anchovies. I was glad I splurged for pine nuts--they really do add to the experience. The recipe calls for capelli, which as far as I could tell from the pictures is indistinguishable from spaghetti. I'll wait for an Italian to correct me...

Recipe adopted from Pasta: A cook's guide to the delicious world of pasta and noodles with 500 recipes
  • 1 1/4 lbs fresh flat-leaf spinach or 3/4 lb frozen spinach
  • 1 lb capelli d'angelo
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (~ 2 oz.) anchovy fillets, chopped
Wash the spinach thoroughly in a colander and place it in a large pot with only the water that naturally clings to the leaves. Cover and cook over high heat, shaking occasionally, until the leaves had just wilted and the spinach is bright green. Drain well and set aside.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted water. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the pine nuts, and fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside (if you don't have slotted spoon, a fork works in a pinch). Add the garlic to the pan and fry until golden. Add the anchovies, then the spinach, and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach is hot. Stir in the pine nuts. Drain the pasta and toss in a serving bowl with butter or olive oil. Top with the sauce, fork it through roughly and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 50 minutes
Substitutions: The proportions seemed a bit skewed in the original recipe, which called for 2 lbs of fresh spinach, 2 garlic cloves, and 6 anchovy fillets. 2 lbs appeared to be an enormous quantity of spinach--I could barely fit 1 1/4 pound in my pot--but having seen it cook down and tasted the final product, I'd say adding a bit more would have been fine. Maybe the anchovy fillets in Britain are bigger than ours, because 6 wouldn't have been nearly enough. Even though I used a whole can, which turned out to be 15 fillets, The Gastronomer wished that the pasta had been fishier.

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