Imagine yourself in a tiny hillside town outside Venice, in your Nonna’s kitchen, sighing with happiness as you dig into a steaming, aromatic bowl of fresh pasta. Italy not in your plans this year? Then imagine yourself at the corner of 15th and Pine, cozy in a corner of Anchovies & Olives, savoring new chef Zach Chambers’ version of the same.
Spicy. Savory. A touch of garlic. The salt and depth of anchovies. Light, crisp breadcrumbs. The year after it opened, Ethan Stowell’s Anchovies & Olives was named among the top ten new restaurants in the country by both Bon Appétit and GQ. And I know why. It’s the whole experience, sure, but especially this pasta.
And now imagine yourself, less from an hour from now, exultantly serving your friends or family an equally impressive bowl of pasta with garlic, chili and anchovies at your very own table. Could you serve it as part of your Super Bowl spread? Beats bean dip.
Many thanks to Ethan Stowell for sharing his recipe, a staple of the Anchovies & Olives menu, with CHS readers.
- I wish you luck finding fresh bigoli at your favorite Capitol Hill grocery store. Here’s Mario Batali’s recipe if you want to make your own (and have a meat grinder handy). I used dried bucatini (pictured in the photos), which is a similar shape, but you may prefer to seek out a fresh pasta for the texture contrast between its tenderness and the crispy breadcrumbs. But I will tell you this: for the purpose of scientific inquiry alone (of course!), I also made this recipe with plain old spaghetti and whole wheat spaghetti. Every variation was delicious.
- The breadcrumb recipe below makes more than you need for the pasta. So you could reduce it by half (you’ll still have extra), or you could just plan to find another use for all those delicious fresh breadcrumbs.
- Be sure you have a chunk of good bread handy to soak up the decadent slick of oil in the bottom of the dish.
Bigoli with Garlic, Chili, and Anchovy
Recipe provided by Chef Ethan Stowell
1 lb. bigoli pasta
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 t. chili flakes
12 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley, packed
4 T. breadcrumbs (recipe follows)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, less one-minute.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large sauté pan. Add garlic, chili flakes, and anchovy. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft and anchovies melt into the oil.
When pasta is done, drain and tip into sauté pan. Add parsley and toss well. Divide between four deep bowls and top each with a generous tablespoon of breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.
1/2 lb. bread slices, stale or lightly toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed with knife
Put garlic and oil in saucepan over low heat. Allow to infuse for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put bread slices in food processor. Pulse to chop then process for one to two minutes, or until finely ground. Add crumbs to garlic oil and cook over low heat for two to three minutes or until crumbs have toasted and absorbed the oil. Season with kosher salt. Crumbs will keep in an airtight container for about two weeks.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Previous Capitol Hill Cooks Posts