Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bucatini e Broccoli Agrodolce

     Sicily looks like a small island on a map, yet there are so many culinary influences that have their roots in Sicilian cuisine that one would swear that Sicily was a large continent!  Agra Dolce is a good example of a unique Sicilian style flavor combination that has influenced many chefs worldwide.  Agra Dolce is a unique sweet sour flavor combination that is often featured in food item that one would not expect to taste a sweet sour flavor.  Sicilian Agrodolce definitely has a way of pleasantly awakening the senses!
     There are several Sicilian recipes for pasta with broccoli.  Some recipes call for tomato sauce and some are made with an olive oil sauce.  The savory simple flavor of broccoli is featured in some recipes, while others use anchovies to add umami sensations.  Some Sicilian broccoli pasta recipes are made with an Agrodolce Sauce, which adds an exciting flavor.
     Agrodolce Sauce has a balance of sweet and sour flavor that is enriched with dried fruit.  The addition of herbs, spices, nuts and garlic makes the sweet sour flavor even more complex.  Toasted seasoned breadcrumbs are often added as a finishing touch, which offsets the extreme flavors of the Agrodolce.  As one can see, a lot of thought and experience goes into a Sicilian style pasta that features Agrodolce flavors.  One taste is all it takes for guests to smile.    

     Raison Preparation:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 pasta portion.
     Place 2 tablespoons of minced raisons in a small bowl.
     Add 1/4 cup of warm water.
     Let the raisons soak till they start to become tender.  (About 1 hour.)
     *Do not discard the soaking liquid.

     Garlic Bread Crumb Topping:
     This recipe yields enough for 2 pasta portions.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Sauté till the garlic is a light golden color.
     Step 2:  Add 3 tablespoons of fine ground plain Italian breadcrumbs.
     Constantly stir till the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the garlic bread crumb topping in a small bowl.
     Keep the bowl warm on a stove top.

     Toasted Pine Nuts:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 pasta portion.
     Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of pine nuts.
     Shake the pan as the pine nuts toast.
     Toast the pine nuts till they turn a light golden color.
     Set the pine nuts aside in a small bowl.

     Bucatini e Broccoli Agrodolce:
     This recipe yields 1 pasta entrée.
     Step 1:  Start cooking 1 portion of Bucatini Pasta in a pot of boiling water over medium high heat till it is al dente.
     *The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks! 
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Add 3 tablespoons of minced onion.
     Sauté till the onions and garlic are a light golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 1 chopped imported Italian anchovy filets.  (About 1/2 teaspoon.)
     Briefly sauté for a few seconds, so the anchovy becomes aromatic.
     Step 4:  Add 1 cup of chopped broccoli florets.
     Sauté the broccoli till it just starts to cook.
     Step 5:  Add 3/4 cup of water.
     Add the reserved soaked raisons and the soaking liquid.
     Add the reserved toasted pine nuts.
     Add 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of raw sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Crocus sativa Saffron.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 6:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till only about 1/3 cup of liquid remains in the pan.  (There should only be enough Agrodolce Sauce in the pan to coat the pasta with flavor.)
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 8:  When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain the water off of the pasta.
     Step 9:  Place the sauté pan of Agrodolce Broccoli over very low heat.
     Add the Bucatini Pasta to the sauce.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Toss the pasta with the sauce and broccoli, till it is warm.
     Step 10:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Use a long tine carving fork to mound the pasta on a plate.
     Pour any sauce that remains in the pan over the Bucatini Pasta.
     Step 11:  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of fine grated Pecorino Romano Cheese over the pasta.
     Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the reserved Garlic Bread Crumbs over the pasta.
     Garnish the pasta with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     Bucatini e Broccoli Agrodolce will please guests that crave bold complex flavors!

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