spaghetti tossed with ground almonds, anchovies, and capers

tired of the same few pasta sauces: red/pesto/alfredo?
i know i am. so, when asked to make pasta for a cookout recently, i went looking for a how-to-wow novel combo of ingredients. i found the idea for this tasty toss in the may '11 issue of food and wine magazine. a recipe for bottarga and spaghetti with almond bread crumbs and capers kindled my taste buds . . . but opting to cut some of the starchy calories and fat, i eliminated bread crumbs (two starches in 1 dish is too many!) and butter. i swapped just-cut basil for parsley, switched out hard-to-find bottarga with anchovies/mashed them with capers, and sautéed the mixed paste in olive oil. 

the result? a pairing with the everloving italian noodle as good as pesto and as easy as a few ingredients pulled down from the pantry shelf. i served it with a spoon to twirl the spaghetti so none of us would miss a morsel.
if you have a jar of capers, a can of anchovies 
and some raw almonds, that's all you need for a 
change-of-pace pasta toss.

want to learn to make pasta at home? click here
ingredients (serves 8)
• 1 lb. of cooked spaghetti
• 1/2 cup capers
• 5 anchovy fillets
• 1 cup sliced, raw almonds
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup minced basil
• about 1 tsp. paprika
1. soak the capers in cold water for 1 hour.
2. soak the anchovy fillets in a little milk for 1/2 hour.
3. lightly toast the almonds in a dry skillet on a med. heat. careful not to burn them. allow them to cool.
4. finely grind the cooled, toasted almonds in a food processor.
5. drain and roughly chop the capers and anchovies. then mash them into a paste with a mortar and pestle.
6. put 1/2 cup of the olive oil into a med. skillet with the caper/anchovy paste, and the paprika. set the flame to med. and cook until sizzling– 5 min. or so. turn off the flame and allow the pan to cool to room temperature.
7. put the cooked spaghetti in a large bowl. drizzle on 1/4 cup of olive oil, and toss the pasta with the finely ground almonds. toss again with the cooked capers and anchovies. and, finally the minced basil.
8. taste for saltiness/add a little if needed.

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