Wednesday, July 25, 2012

to pasta, with love

I have always defined living well as a kind of European sensibility-- fresh bread daily, runny cheese, scarves. Whenever I see women wearing blousy shirts and chunky silver rings, I dream about growing into one of those effortlessly chic women who decides to eat dinner and then there is delicious pasta on the table made up of strange pantry delights (uh, basically just my friend Alex). 

Breadcrumbs in pasta. There's the answer. I have long read recipes that call for breadcrumbs and I have always been like, why do that when you can add cheese? Because it's delicious and cheap, that's why. I made this pasta, then I googled the ingredients to see if I could have done one better (is that nuts? do other people do that?) and learned that Zuni Cafe in SF has basically the same pasta but with fennel seeds, too. Validation! Also, I want to go to the Zuni Cafe, or at least cook beautiful honest Berkeley-food without knowing it. I'm getting there. 


+ a few anchovies (the other secret to effortless elegance, according to Nigel Slater, anyway, is anchovies. Anchovies for all!)
+ a few cloves of garlic
+ capers (a tablespoon? two?)
+chile pepper flakes (a few shakes? to taste?)
+ olive oil. A lot of it.
+ a head of broccoli or cauliflower
+ half a pound of pasta
+ 1/2 - 2/3 cup breadcrumbs

-- Boil your pasta water and then add the pasta. Let it cook al dente and drain. Duh.
-- Meanwhile, lay your breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and toast at 425 for about 10 minutes, checking FREQUENTLY. 
-- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil. Smoosh in the anchovies until they make a paste and add the hot pepper flakes. If you need more oil, add more. 
-- Now add the broccoli and saute. Don't be afraid to walk away and let it get a little scorchy-- that's the good stuff. Add the capers towards the end, in enough oil so that they get crispy crunchy.
-- OK! Pasta into the sauce. Did you forget about the breadcrumbs in the oven? Don't! When you're ready to serve, sprinkle them on top. And there you have it. With a cold beer in your stickyhot-but-seriously-I-love-my-eat-in-kitchen? Maybe more Brooklyn than Paris, but not bad, at all.

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