Dinner “all’Italiana” at La Moussière – Primo Piatto
“Bad news, the Camorra did not release the pasta recipe. Sorry Roger“, I said. There was no way we could get the camorristas to unveil this ancient dish. Therefore, I sent a pizzo (a form of paying the mafia) to Cosa Nostra in Sicily (Costa Nostra in Italian means “Our Thing”).
After long negotiations, we finally got the recipe so Roger and I could cook “Pasta Nostra”. It was a tedious process that involved not only paying the pizzo in the form of “Photography secrets”, but we had to send by email the secret code in order to get the recipe: it was PATA (pasta without the S). Apparently, the guy in Sicily was having problems with its keyboard and could not type the S!! Nevermind, here’s the recipe!
Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, capers, anchovies and breadcrumbs
- 300 grams of spaghetti
- about 25 – 30 of ripe cherry tomatoes
- 2 – 3 teaspoons of capers
- 3-4 anchovies
- 250 grams of fresh breadcrumbs from high quality non toasted bread
- 10 grams of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- some basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 or 2 small dry chili (I used one but you can add 2 if you like it hotter)
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
I have always used breadcrumbs from toasted bread. Yet, this time Roger came up with one of the most brilliant ideas in cooking I have ever seen; and that is, using breadcrumbs out of fresh French baguette. Adding fresh breadcrumbs into pasta does make a difference since you get a diverse effect in consistency. While toasted breadcrumbs are smaller and harder, fresh breadcrumbs are bigger, softer and moister (sorry Roger, I know you don’t like this word). This means breadcrumbs will absorb more sauce, resulting in a fuller and richer pasta dish.
Cut the bread into chunks. Remove the crust. Put the bread chunks into a food processor. Add salt, pepper, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Add extra virgin olive oil. Process until the mixture turns into small crumbs.
Cut date tomatoes lengthwise.
Heat a skillet with extra virgin olive oil (over high heat) and place diced garlic and hot peppers. Sautee for about 2-3 minutes to let flavors infuse into olive oil. Discard garlic and hot peppers.
Decrease heat to medium high and gently squeeze tomatoes to let the juices come out. Cook for another 2 minutes. Cut anchovies into 2 -3 pieces each. Add chopped anchovies to the sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add capers and turn off the heat. Add basil leaves torn with your hands.
Meanwhile bring a pot with water to a boil. When boiling, add coarse salt, and cook pasta following package instructions.
Drain pasta and transfer it to the skillet (over very low heat) containing the sauce, add breadcrumbs and combine well.
To make pasta nests, head to my post Bucatini with roasted red pepper sauce and zucchini.