The latest result of the collaboration in Esquire of chef Russell Norman and Scott Grummett is lush and lip smacking pasta dish, bigoli in salsa. Russell claims the recipe is the perfect stand by in a culinary crisis.
He recounts the tale of a disastrous early attempt at a dinner party saying ‘If only I’d known about this recipe when I was that nervous young man, I could have ruled the world…’
Essential, so here’s the recipe.
Bigoli in salsa
3 or 4 of those little 50g tins of anchovies in olive oil
• 2 large onions, peeled
• Extra virgin olive oil
• 1 glass of white wine
• 400g dried spaghetti
• Large knob butter
• Handful flat parsley, chopped
• Ground black pepper
• Crusty bread to serve
1. Remove the anchovies from the tins. They tend to be stuck together in a clump, so separate them carefully and lay out them on a small plate. Set aside. Also keep the fishy oil from the tins.
2. Dice the onions very finely. Heat a good glug or two of olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and then reduce the heat. Gently sweat the onions for about 10mins. They should not colour or stick but will take on a glossy, translucent quality and become very soft and mushy.
3. Turn up the pan’s heat a little and add the anchovies. (This is a good time to put a large saucepan of water on a high flame.) Meanwhile, using the back of a wooden spoon, push the melted onions and the anchovies together until they form a rough paste. If the mixture looks too dry, add some or all of the reserved fishy oil from the tins. Keep stirring and mushing the ingredients together. Add the wine and establish a very gentle simmer for 10mins, stirring and reducing slightly.
4. Put the spaghetti into the boiling water and cook according to the packet’s instructions, draining when just al dente. Add the butter to the frying pan, turn off the heat, and stir in the parsley. Put the drained spaghetti and the anchovy sauce into a very large mixing bowl, turn over several times to incorporate fully, and serve out onto four warmed plates. Finish each with a twist of black pepper and some shredded parsley.