Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Anelletti with Sun Dried Tomato, Italian Anchovy and Olio d'Oliva Parmigiana

     A Healthy Pasta With A Bold Flavor!
     Italian style olive oil sauce pastas are popular during warm summer weather.  Pasta with a bold tasting olive oil sauce also appeals to health oriented guests during the spring season.  A light pasta that has a bold umami flavor satisfies cravings that have built up after dining on heavy comfort food for most of the winter.  Strong umami flavors seem to trigger memories of dining on fresh seafood during the warm summer season.  
     Anchovies have been used as a seasoning in Mediterranean cuisine since the days of ancient Rome, when Garum was served with nearly every meal.  Anchovies were used as a seasoning in European cuisine till the early 1900's, then the popularity steadily decined.  In this modern age, people either like anchovies or they avoid them altogether.  Even with the resurgence of umami flavor food trends, anchovies are still a difficult item to get people interested in.
     There is a big difference between cheap salty anchovies and high quality anchovy filets that cost a few dollars more.  Cheap canned anchovies have a salty strong fishy flavor and the tiny bones are still usually attached.  Premium quality Italian anchovies are usually carefully packed in glass jars and they have a refined rich umami flavor that is quite mellow when compared to cheap anchovies.  Even people that do not normally like anchovies will tend to compliment the flavor of premium quality Italian anchovies.  Of course, the best place to find the best Mediterranean anchovies is at an Italian delicatessen or Italian food market!

     Anelletti with Sun Dried Tomato, Italian Anchovy and Olio d'Oliva Parmigiana:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     Aneletti Pasta and premium quality Italian anchovies can be found in an Italian delicatessen.  Sun Dried Tomato Halves can be found in grocery stores.
     Olive oil sauces require a small amount of liquid, especially if cheese is added.  The moisture will soften and melt the cheese.  Care must be taken when the cheese is added, because if the pan is left on the heat for a few seconds too long, the cheese will start to stick to the pan, even if the pan has a non-stick surface.
     Step 1:  Cut 6 sun dried tomato halves into 1/4" wide strips.
     Heat a sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Add the sun dried tomato strips.
     Gently simmer till the sun dried tomato strips soften.
     Step 2:  Drain the liquid off of the reconstituted sun dried tomato strips.
     Set the tender sun dried tomato strips aside.
     Step 3:  Start cooking 1 portion of Anelletti Pasta in a pot of boiling water over medium high heat.
     *The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks.  Anelletti takes about 10 to 11 minutes to become al dente.  
     Step 4:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Sauté till the garlic turns a golden color.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 6 chopped imported Italian Anchovy Filets.
     Add the reconstituted sun dried tomato strips.
     Briefly sauté for about 10 seconds, so the anchovies and tomatoes become aromatic.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Add 1 pinch of basil.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of crushed black peppercorn.
     Add 1 small pinch of sea salt.  (Do not add too much salt, because the anchovies contain salt!)
     Add 2 pinches of finely chopped Italian Parsley.
     Wait till the pasta is ready!
     Step 7:  When the Anelletti Pasta is al dente, use a fine mesh strainer to drain the hot water off the pasta.
     Add the pasta to the sauce in the sauté pan.
     Step 8:  Place the sauté pan of pasta and olive oil sauce over medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Occasionally toss the ingredients together, till the pasta and olive oil sauce is piping hot.
     *If the water evaporates and the olive oil starts to fry the pasta, then add 2 tablespoons more water.  Only a small amount of water is needed to moisten the cheese in the next step.
     Step 9:  Add 3 tablespoons of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese while stirring the ingredients together.
     Stir till the cheese starts to cling to the pasta.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 10:  Use a serving spoon to mound the Anelletti with Sun Dried Tomato, Italian Anchovy and Olio d'Oliva Parmigiana in a shallow pasta bowl.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese over the pasta.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     This bold tasting healthy pasta will awaken the senses!

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