It's taken years, but I finally made an anchovy aficionado out of the old husband. Oh, I've tried before, with stealthy insertions of the salty fish into Caesar Salads, minced onto pizza pies and tucked into pastas, but I was always discovered. Not until I melted a tin of anchovies into a luscious and decidedly unsalty base for a supper pasta with Broccoli Rabe and some of our bountiful supply of homegrown garlic scapes did I succeed in winning over my Dan to the anchovy side.
When anchovies are cooked down over a low flame, they lose their super salinity and gain a mellow, earthy flavor that was the perfect foil to the bitter Broccoli Rabe greens. This dish was so successful, I've made it twice since, and Dan has even cleaned out the cupboard of my tinned anchovy stash, so I believe I have an anchovy convert on my hands now.
It's a quick and simple pasta dish and one that I will pass on to you should you covet a hearty pasta dish with once-sharp flavors that are delightfully mellowed after cooking.
Pasta with Broccoli Rabe, Garlic Scapes and Anchovies
1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 lb. fettuccine
1 tin anchovies
10 garlic scapes, chopped
Pinch of hot pepper flakes
Grated Romano cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste (taste first; you made not need to add any salt with the saltiness of the anchovies)
Cook fettuccine until al dente. Drain and rinse with warm water. Set aside.
Heat a teaspoon or so of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add chopped garlic scapes and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add anchovies and their oil and break up with a wooden spoon, stirring until they melt and coat the scapes. Add chopped broccoli rabe and stir all around. Cook until leaves are wilted and broccoli rabe is crisp-tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add a little water and cover pan to steam for another minute or two.
Add hot pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Mix with your cooked pasta and toss to coat. Garnish with grated cheese.
Serve hot to 6-8 persons.
I am sending a plate of this toothsome pasta over to Helen of Fuss Free Flavours, who is this week's host for Presto Pasta Nights. This weekly event was started by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and is a great showcase for noodly dishes. Helen will have the roundup for Presto Pasta Nights #221 posted after the July 7 deadline.