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Recipe: Sicilian Peasant-style Pasta

Posted by Shannon on 01/04/2012

This pasta recipe is for a satisfying meal using simple ingredients…10 to be exact. While the term “peasant” may have been indicative of a lower Sicilian caste when this dish originated, I happen to fully enjoy it in high esteem, and am happy the Ornest clan taught it to me. The way I’d make this is a follows…

  1. Start two pots of water boiling on the stove; dice half an onion and two cloves of garlic while they heat.

  2. Soak about a handful of raisins in warm water so they can plump and re-hydrate.

  3. When the first pot of water begins to boil, add a healthy pinch of salt and a head of broccoli florets.

  4. While they cook, add a handful of pine nuts into a frying pan and toast them on high heat, consistently moving them in the pan. Set aside when toasted to your desired brown-ness.

  5. When the broccoli is cooked yet still firm, drain and set aside.

  6. Add the Gemelli pasta to the second pot of boiling water and cook to al dente. While that is doing its thing, heat a large skillet pan to medium heat, add olive oil, then saute the onions and garlic with salt and pepper.

  7. Add a spoon of tomato paste and another of anchovies to the skillet, then stir around. Both will quickly dissolve in the heat. And please- trust me on the anchovies. The final product tastes nothing like fish or anchovies. Scout’s honor.

  8. When the pasta is just before al dente, drain the pasta. Just like the broccoli, you want to slightly under-cook it because it will continue to cook when combined with all the ingredients later on.

  9. Add the pasta into the larger skillet, then stir everything around to coat the pasta and warm the broccoli back up.

  10. Once you dish yourself up a nice big plateful of pasta, add a generous sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano on top. (Optional: If you prefer a touch of heat like I do, also sprinkle on crushed red chili peppers flakes.)

    The fun part about cooking versus baking is that it isn’t an exact art. You can edit your version of Sicilian peasant pasta in a variety of ways. Perhaps try it tonight for dinner. With 10 ingredients, its a relatively simple dish to put together for yourself, and also a reason to get friends together and share a meal.

    Let me know how it goes and “mangia bene!”

Pasta, Peasant Pasta, Italian, broccoli, pine nut, Parmigiano Reggiano, raisins, 10 ingredients, dinner idea

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