... we should have taken a picture (it was gaw-geous, dahling), but we ate it instead.
Then we made it again the next week. And we still didn't take a picture.
VERMICELLI DI SCAMMARO
(Serves 2+ as main course, 4+ as side or first course)
1 tablespoon dark or golden raisins, soaked
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon capers
3/4 cup black olives
1 tablespoon minced pine nuts
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
14 oz vermicelli (thin spaghetti)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
This recipe works well prepared as a team. One person (for example, Dennis) actually cooks the pasta. The other (that would be Yours Truly) opens cans, chops nuts, measures ingredients, and eats all the olives that were left in the tin. Yes, all of them.
Cooking Together Is Fun, especially a special dinner for a special occasion. However, if you are a control-freak, as I happen to be, it sadly often becomes Tense and Frustrating instead. With that in mind, let me add another essential ingredient to the list:
A bottle of good wine
It can be white or red, whatever you like. It is very important to open the bottle before you get very far into recipe prep. Trust me, this will add enormously both to the fun of preparation and to the deliciousness of the final dish.
Once you get who does what sorted out, bring a pot of salted water to boil for pasta; cook al dente as directed on the box (about 7 minutes). Meanwhile, in another pan, heat olive oil and add the garlic, smashed and peeled but not minced. Sautee a minute or so till it smells AMAZING.
This is a good time to add some of the wine. This should be sipped slowly by the chef/sous chef, not added to the pot. You will want to add the anchovies to the pot, and mush them up as well as you can. Depending on how hungry you were before those first sips of wine, mashing the weird little pink fillets may seem delightfully funny. Or it may just seem gross. Trust me, the anchovies are an essential ingredient.
After they've cooked a minute, dump in the capers, olives, nuts, and raisins. (At this point, let me suggest using walnuts if the price sticker on the pine nuts at the grocery store gives you palpitations. We did -- it was awesome. Also, feel free to add more raisins if you like them. We are always a fan of adding more raisins.) Cook a few more minutes to let everything get all toasty and delicious, then fish out the garlic (if you are like us, you will then eat the crispy garlic. If that's a little too ... garlicky ... for you, feel free to just throw it away). Throw in those breadcrumbs and let them toast!
At this point, you may need a little more wine. Also, your pasta is probably about done. If both of these happen about the same time, please be CAREFUL as you drain the hot noodles and toss them in the beautiful, beautiful sauce.
This is an Italian sauce. No, there is not supposed to be more of it. There is enough sauce, and it will be DELICIOUS. Have it with meat and salad or all by its ownsome. With, of course, another glass of wine.
3 months ago