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Spaghetti With Walnuts and Anchovies
Spaghetti With Walnuts and Anchovies, Nori seaweed or bacon
The dish is traditionally part of a meatless Christmas Eve dinner. If you can find freshly harvested walnuts, they’ll make this pasta even better:
- 1/2 cup shelled walnuts (2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 pound spaghetti
- 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino (optional)
For those who don’t like anchovy, try
- Worcestershire sauce to taste
- Nori seaweed, that both have the salty, briny flavor, or
- Smoked bacon.
Nori Seaweed is normally sold in dried sheets. It is one of the easiest ways to eat seaweed. After soaking, Nori can be added to soup or used as a salad ingredient. Nori is commonly used as a wrap for sushi. It is also a common garnish or flavoring in noodle preparations and soups. Nori is most typically toasted prior to consumption. Nori, and all other seaweeds, are a rich source of calcium, zinc and iodine. Because it comes from the sea, seaweed contains sodium and anyone on a sodium-restricted diet should be careful with the amounts they eat. Wakame has the highest sodium content, with kelp and laver having significantly less.
Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty Italian cheese. It is produced exclusively from the milk of sheep raised on the plains of Lazio and in Sardinia. Its distinctive aromatic, pleasantly sharp, very salty flavor means it is preferred for some pasta dishes with highly-flavored sauces.
1. Begin heating a large pot of water over high heat. Meanwhile, lightly toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in a 375-degree oven for just a few minutes until fragrant or in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When the walnuts smell like they’re beginning to toast, remove them from the heat and transfer to a clean dish towel. Wrap them in the towel, and rub between your hands to remove some of the papery shells. Chop the nuts medium-fine, and set aside.
2. In a wide, heavy skillet or saucepan large enough to accommodate the cooked spaghetti, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until it begins to sizzle, and add the anchovies. Cook, mashing the anchovies with the back of your spoon or with a fork, for about 30 seconds until they begin to fall apart and melt into the oil. Add the walnuts, stir together for about a minute and remove from the heat.
3. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the spaghetti. Cook al dente, following the timing recommendations on the package but checking about a minute before the indicated time. When the pasta is almost done, add 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the pan with the walnuts and anchovies, and reheat over medium heat.
4. When the pasta is ready, drain and toss with the walnut and anchovy mixture. Add the parsley, adjust salt if necessary and add pepper. Serve, passing the pecorino at the table.
Yield: Serves four.
Advance preparation: You can toast the walnuts well in advance, but the sauce can be done in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.
Nutritional information per serving: 530 calories; 23 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 3 milligrams cholesterol; 66 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 156 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 14 grams protein
(From: Spaghetti With Walnuts and Anchovies, MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN, the NY Times, December 6, 2010)
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