Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Perciatelli with spicy dill anchovy breadcrumbs

Made this recipe out of last April's Gourmet magazine.

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped dill
1 lb red onions, thinly sliced
1 (2-oz) can flat anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
1 lb perciatelli pasta (long tubular strands)
1/2 tsp dried hot pepper flakes

This recipe got my attention because I LOVE fresh dill. I could just eat bouquets of the stuff. (TANGENT: Every year I try to grow it in my container garden and on my window sill. And every year those cursed pots produce gangly, yellowed stalks with nary a feathery frond for me to munch. This time, I got some luscious and overpriced organic dill from Kroger.) Also, I've never made anything with anchovy fillets. Nor have I made many Italian recipes without tomatoes.

The magazine says to: Heat 1/4 cup oil in skillet, and stir breadcrumbs 'til crunchy and golden. Then toss with chopped dill, salt and pepper.
Wipe skillet, cook onions, salt in remaining 1/2 cup oil until very soft. Then add anchovies and mash into onions until "dissolved" (I never heard of fish dissolving before, but OK.)
Meanwhile, cook pasta in 5 quarts water salted wit 2 Tbs salt. (yeah, really salty!)
Drain pasta, stir pepper flakes and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water into anchovy mixture and toss with pasta. Stir in half the breadcrumbs and pile the rest on top.

I felt like this recipe had a little too much oil. Even though I used a non-teflon skillet, I think I could have cut the oil by half or a third. Plus all the excess made the anchovy sauce slip off the noodles and to the bottom of the bowl. I also thought it was a little salty, but that's just my personal taste. I think I would have upped the onions and I did up the dill to a half cup. Though the crumbs were soggy, the next day's leftovers seemed to be more flavorful.

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