This recipe originally comes from the Apulia region of southern Italy. Anchovies are used in lots of savoury dishes and here they combine successfully with broccoli cooked so it still has a little bite to it, and shell-shaped or orecchiette pasta topped with Parmesan and a crisp pangratto crumb. Pangratto was used in poorer households as a substitute for expensive Parmesan but I like to use them both!
- 300g calabrese broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces – florets and stem
- 2 tablespoons of light olive oil
- 1 small can of anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
- 10g butter
- 200g pasta shells or other small pasta shapes
- 25g freshly grated Parmesan
- Salt and black pepper
- Pangratto: 100g fresh breadcrumbs (stale sourdough is good), 1 small clove of garlic, grated, 1 tbsp olive oil
- Lightly steam the broccoli florets for about 5 minutes so that is ‘al dente’ i.e. still has a little bite to it. Drain and allow to air dry.
- Start cooking the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water according to the pack instructions – usually about 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the pangratta by frying the breadcrumbs in the oil (I often use the oil from the canned anchovies) with the grated garlic until crisp and golden. Season with a little salt and pepper. Turn them out onto a plate covered with a sheet of kitchen paper to drain.
- Add the oil to a small frying pan and cook the anchovies. They will dissolve in the oil and form a paste. Add the broccoli and the butter. Taste and season with black pepper – it should be salty enough.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta and a tablespoon of the pasta water. Stir and coat the pasta with the sauce.
- Serve in warmed bowls with plenty of Parmesan and top with the pangratto crumbs. Delicious!
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