Monday, February 21, 2011

Pantry Spaghetti

There is a whole category of mostly Southern Italian food, somewhat of a variation on "cucina povera", a stone soup of pasta dishes I like to call pantry spaghetti. Basically it's making something quick and delicious with things you happen to have on hand. Maybe one night it's spaghetti with a fried egg, or chili and oil with some hard cheese (or better yet toasted bread crumbs), or tonight's variation spaghetti with walnuts and anchovies -- a ready anytime dish if ever there was one.
I heated 3 cloves of garlic in a couple TB of olive oil on medium heat until they were just starting to color on one side and added in 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and a couple crushed chiles. After a minute I popped in 4 anchovy filets and with my wooden spoon crushed them into the oil until they were well dissolved. I cooked the sauce for 1 minute more and when the pasta was drained I added it to the sauce along with a 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, gave it all a good stir and brought it to the table with a sprinkle of cheese I happened to have on hand.

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