making food from anywhere, with anything

a take on spaghetti con acciughe e mollica


Good evening, all.

I’m not a huge fan of pasta.  Most of the time, I find it really uninspiring and mediocre.  I’ve never had homemade pasta, so this could be why I’ve been reluctant to get into it.

However, in spirit of quick meals, I chose to make a spaghetti dish tonight.  Spaghetti con acciughe e mollica is essentially spaghetti with bread crumbs and anchovies.  To mine, I added a tomato, mint, thyme, spinach, a leek, some lemon and some feta cheese.

spaghetti

Revamped spaghetti con acciughe e mollica

inspiration for this was found here

Ingredients

about two handfuls of spaghetti (so, maybe…a little less than half a box?)

about two handfuls of spinach (but you can really add however much you want..)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 TBSP crumbled feta cheese

12 anchovy fillets packed in oil, minced — reserve the oil (remove the spine of the fish and fry them up for later!  the bones are so delicate, you can eat them with no problem)

1 leek, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2 sprigs thyme, minced

2 sprigs mint, minced

1 tomato, diced

3/4 cup bread crumbs, toasted

pepper to taste

juice of half a lemon

Method

Get all your ingredients together.  Mince the garlic, anchovies, herbs.  Dice the tomato, chop the leek, get everything nice and organized.

Throw your breadcrumbs on a small skillet over low heat.  I used panko bread crumbs, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  Toast them until they’re evenly browned.  You’re going to want to shake them every now and then because they’ll burn quickly.

In a medium saucepan, start boiling some water.  Dump your spaghetti in, and cook until al dente (I cook my spaghetti for about 5-7 minutes because I like it preeetttyyy al dente).

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the anchovy oil and extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet with sides over medium heat.  Dump your garlic, anchovies, and leek in.  Sautee that for about a minute.  Then, add the tomato.  Sautee for another minute or two.  Add your spinach, thyme, and mint.  Cook until the spinach has wilted.  At this point you’ll be able to decide whether you want to add more spinach or not, as it loses a lot of volume once it wilts.

Drain the spaghetti and put it in the skillet.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add about half of the breadcrumbs and toss well.  Add the feta and the rest of the breadcrumbs, remove from the heat.  Toss again.  Squeeze some lemon juice on it, toss a little bit more, and serve.

I garnished it with a little bit of mint I had leftover.  I think the dish came out quite well.  It’s a fusion dish, I guess, and a very satisfying one at that (particularly after an hour of kickboxing!).  I have never used anchovies before, so this was a bit of an experimentation.  I think a lot of people tend to assume that adding anchovies to a dish means it’ll reek of fish and taste horribly salty and fishy.  This is not the case at all whatsoever.  The anchovies add a hint of salty greatness, and I guarantee even your most anti-fish diners would never know they were in the dish. I will definitely be using them in the future.

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