While eating this, I impulsively exclaimed to my husband, “I love pasta.” I really do. I could eat pasta ever single night of the week, and for lunch too and never get tired of it. I wish I liked whole wheat pasta more, since I know they have stripped all the nutrients out to make my lovely white flour pasta, but I don’t. I like white bread better than whole wheat too, these are my issues, and I’m working on them.
Whenever I get a new cookbook, I invariably turn to the pasta section first. While I occasionally find the same old, same old, I am always struck by the infinite combination of ingredients that can be tossed into pasta. Like this dish for example, Pasta with Anchovies, Currants, Fennel and Pine Nuts. I just happened to have all of the ingredients that I needed to make this, and no, I don’t usually keep fennel bulbs around, but I had one from some recipe that I decided not to make. This was wonderful and easy. The fennel and the onions cooked together made a sweet combination, pairing beautifully. The recipe calls for toasted breadcrumbs, which I toasted with a little of the olive oil in the skillet before beginning the rest of the recipe.
I got this from my (I know you’re tired of me saying this) new favorite cookbook, The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh, but you can also find it on-line by following the link above and I’ve included it down below for you. I am nothing if not accommodating.
Pasta with Anchovies, Currants, Fennel and Pine Nuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 anchovy fillets
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
1 large fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, very thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup dried currants
3/4 pound linguine
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, toasted
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add anchovies; mash with back of fork. Add the onion, fennel, and red pepper. Sauté vegetables until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, pine nuts, and currants. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes to blend the flavors; season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Add saffron to reserved liquid and stir to dissolve. Return pasta and saffron water to pot. Add tomato mixture; toss over low heat until sauce coats pasta. Mix in breadcrumbs and transfer to bowl.