Sicilian Pasta With Anchovies and Toasted Breadcrumbs

This is a traditional recipe from Palermo, Sicilia, where you can find it under its original name: Pasta c’Anciuova e Muddica Atturrata. When we shared the love for this very rich and savory Sicilian pantry pasta with our friend Sasha of Serious Eats, the combination of salty, sweet, umami, and crunchy for him was mind blowing. Recipe testing after recipe testing (read: dinner parties) along with our Palermitano expert Salvatore, Sasha finally nailed the perfect flavor intensity and satisfying mouthfeel.

Here’s our adapted version of the recipe. Head over to Serious Eats to read Sasha’s detailed recipe for Sicilian Pasta With Anchovies and Toasted Breadcrumbs.

Ingredients

SERVES: 4-5 people
TIME: About 40 minutes

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 Cetara anchovies, rinsed and filleted
4 tablespoons Pianogrillo Stratto tomato concentrate
1 bag bucatini Faella (500 gr/1.1 lb)
2 tablespoons Zibbibo raisins
2 tablespoons Italian pine nuts
3/4 of a cup of breadcrumbs
Sea salt

Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season very lightly with sea salt.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of EVOO in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Heat over medium heat 4 tablespoons of EVOO in a large skillet and sauté onions and garlic until softened but not browned (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add anchovies and cook, stirring and breaking up anchovies with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add tomato concentrate and stir to combine with the allium-anchovy mixture. Cook until the mixture turns dark brick red and is very dry.
  6. Transfer 1 cup boiling water from the pot to skillet to loosen the mixture, and stir until it becomes homogenous and creamy. Reduce heat on skillet to the lowest possible setting.
  7. Cook pasta in the pot of boiling water 2 to 3 minutes less than the package directs.
  8. Transfer pasta to the sauce, along with 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
  9. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring and tossing rapidly, until pasta is al dente and sauce coats bucatini and just pools around the edges of the pan.
  10. Add raisins, pine nuts, and breadcrumbs, and toss to combine. Pasta should be well coated but not swimming in sauce (this dish is meant to have a slightly drier consistency than typical sauced pastas).
  11. Plate, sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs and serve right away.