Pasta with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs
Pasta a Palina Ca’ Anciova e Muddica
Monastery of San Francesco di Paola, in Palermo, a
monk prepared this pasta dish, using the few ingredients available in his pantry: tomatoes, salted anchovies,
garlic, and olive oil but what makes this dish really different is that a bit of powdered cinnamon and one or
two cloves were added.
Although those last two ingredients are essential to the original Pasta alla Paolina, in my family we rarely
followed this rule and when making this sauce we tailored this recipe to our taste omitting the cinnamon and ground
cloves, using rarely only one half grounded clove.
When you will be cooking pasta using the above recipe, you will be making a dish full of new and refreshing flavors
and from this combination of different fragrances you will discover that Pasta alla Paolina is not secondary to any
other pasta dish you’ve ever tasted!...
- 1 lb. pasta, preferably penne ziti or Margherita, narrow curly
- 1 can of 14 oz. Italian peeled tomatoes, cut in small pieces with
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely
- 4 salted fillet of anchovies rinsed. Use up to 8 anchovies to suit
- 8 tablespoons of olive
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 or 2 ground cloves
- 1 cup breadcrumbs drizzled with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, toasted
in the oven for 3 minutes
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a 12 to 14 inches sauté pan set over a medium flame,
heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and sauté until
Add chopped peeled tomatoes and cook for about 6 minutes over a high flame.
In a small plate, using a fork, mash the anchovies with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add to tomatoes along
with cinnamon and cloves, lower the flame and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add pepper and taste sauce if salt is needed.
Cook pasta according to manufacture’s directions,
reducing recommended cooking time by 2 minutes.
Drain pasta, reserve a cup of water and toss the cooked pasta into the sauté pan
with the sauce. Add remaining clove of minced garlic and chopped basil. Toss until pasta and sauce are well
combined, add ½ of the breadcrumbs and over a low heat gently turn for about 2 minutes. If too dry, add some of
the reserved water. Serve immediately, garnish with remaining breadcrumbs.