Recipe: Fusillata Casareccia with Anchovies, Broccoli and Bottarga

January 9, 2018

Anchovy and bottarga pasta

I know, you’re never going to remember the name of that pasta shape but don’t worry, this is freakin’ fabulous with basically any pasta – I know this from extensive experience. A great choice would be orecchiette or ‘little ears’ which is what they use down in Puglia when they make their famous broccoli and anchovy arrangement.

As I said on Instagram when I posted a snap, this recipe is proof that with the best ingredients you can make incredible food in no time at all. It uses really excellent bottarga and anchovies both from Lina Stores in Soho, part of a hamper they sent me before Christmas as a promotional effort. If you’ve never been then really, get over there – I’m a long-time customer as it’s a real goldmine of Italian ingredients and one of the very best delis in London, full stop.

This is such a simple dish. You gently cook garlic in butter (olive oil would be more traditional but I love the richness of butter on pasta), then melt in those beautiful anchovies. Next add some blanched and roughly chopped Tenderstem broccoli, chilli flakes and a good squeeze of lemon juice and let it sizzle for a few minutes. The hot pasta is added in one steamy swoop and the lot stirred together and slipped into bowls before topping with crisp crumbs and a shower of golden roe.

It’s probably my favourite pasta dish of all time, actually. Anchovies are one of the world’s greatest ingredients and the quality of these was outstanding – you’ll need to gently tease the flesh from the whole fish (easy) before melting them into the sauce because they’re packed as whole fish, not teeny, aggressive fillets. It’s got everything: garlic, chilli heat, salty fish and lemon plus CARBS. You’ll always be able to rely on Food Stories for carbs, guys, no matter what happens.

Fusillata Casareccia with Anchovies, Broccoli and Bottarga Recipe

Pasta of your choice for 2 people
200g Tenderstem broccoli
4 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
Chilli flakes, to taste
8-10 anchovy fillets (or to taste)
Juice of half a lemon
Handful breadcrumbs, toasted until golden
Butter or olive oil

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente.

Put the Tenderstem into a pan of boiling water. When it comes back to the boil, drain.

Heat a knob of butter or splash of olive oil in a frying pan and gently cook the garlic for a minute or so, stirring. Melt in the anchovies. Add chilli flakes and the broccoli. Stir to coat and add lemon juice.

Once pasta is cooked, drain reserving a splash of cooking water. Add both to the frying pan. Stir well.

Transfer to bowls then grate over bottarga and add crumbs. Yeah, it’s really simple.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Deborah January 11, 2018 at 2:33 am

    Happy New Year, Helen–I have everything at home to make this except the anchovies, but I DO have a new bottle of Colatura which my husband calls “anchovie sweat”, so I think I’ll use a tablespoon of that; it should work fine, si? Si. well, we’ll SEE. 🙂

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves January 11, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Happy new year Deborah! I love colatura and that should work just fine. Do let me know. Anchovy sweat… hilarious!

  • Avatar
    Reply Dan Copping January 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    That looks very…

    … very good.

  • Avatar
    Reply Steves January 15, 2018 at 1:24 am

    Good to know I’m not the only one who puts a few* anchovies into the old aglio e olio, and I’ve done the broccoli thing too (it makes a dish that consists of fat & carbs ‘healthy’, right?), but I must be weirdly immune to whatever bottarga tastes of, because that didn’t really seem to add much for me.

    The really important thing I have discovered though is that Lina Stores sells those tinned San Marzano tomatoes that are stupid hard to find in the UK, and it’s a five minute detour for me commuting via there, and I’m sure I’ll be buying more than just tomatoes in the future, so if they they paid you for this, it was money well spent!

    Also, 50/50 butter and olive oil for low-heat garlic frying. If ever anything was greater than the sum of its parts…

    *5 per person seems a bit overpowering though?

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves January 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      Yeah it’s a fab shop! Those tomatoes are incredible, I could actually drink them straight from the can.

      Re: anchovies, what’s overpowering for you might be heaven for me – that’s why I put (or to taste) in the recipe. Personally I love a strong flavour of anchovy.

  • Avatar
    Reply ann February 19, 2019 at 10:43 am

    That looks fantastic! I usually make without broccoli but I may have to try this! Thanks!

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