Capitol Hill Cooks | Italian comfort food inspired by the corner of 15th and Pine

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.

A few notes for the home cook from my recipe-testing experience:


  • 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. 

Buon appetito.

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.

Fried Breadcrumbs:
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.

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Capitol Hill Cooks | It’s time to host a Capitol Hill soup swap

At this time of year you may feel that the cheer of the holiday season has left you. Merriment is over. Austerity sets in. Six more months of winter loom.

But wait! Rekindle that holiday spirit! January 21 is National Soup Swap Day! That means it’s time to plan a Soup Swap and encourage your guests to get cooking — or at least planning — right away.

I attended my first soup swap right here on Capitol Hill about a decade ago, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the Soup Swap movement went national. Since then there have been coordinated soup swaps from coast to coast on each National Soup Swap Day, and many, many more throughout the year. Bring it home, I say!

The premise is simple. You make six quarts of soup in your biggest pot. You freeze it in six separate 1-quart containers. You get together with your friends and neighbors. You trade. You go home with six new kinds of soup to heat up on a busy weeknight. (Maybe there are prizes.) The complete how-to and FAQ are on the Soup Swap website. It’s delicious. It’s easy. It’s fun.

Need some recipe inspiration? It’s not too late to try this pumpkin soup, or check out this Bacon and Black Bean Soup from Capitol Hill blog Salt on the Table. Soup Swap’s Facebook page also has recipe links, including a yummy-looking soup from local restaurant Lark.

Want to swap but all your friends are lousy cooks or too busy? Want to meet some new neighbors? If there’s enough interest in the comments below, we’ll see about organizing a CHS reader swap later in the month. Hosting a swap? Let us know how it goes!

Capitol Hill Cooks is a home cooking recipe series featuring ingredients, ideas, and recipes from the neighborhood. Have a recipe you think we should share? Drop us a line at

Capitol Hill Cooks | Tiny apple pies inspired by the corner of 12th and Madison

(Images: Em)

A delicious food trend sweeping the nation, headquartered right here on Capitol Hill?  Thanks High 5 Pie!

I was going to suggest that you make these tiny pies to bring to parties because they are the cutest dessert ever.  I was going to mention how they’d make a darling hostess gift, cementing your reputation as a thoughtful guest.  But really, now that the holiday crazy season is underway, it occurs to me that you should probably just cancel those engagements and cozy up in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and your very own tiny pie. It’s only going to get wilder between here and New Year’s, so why not spend a peaceful moment while you can?

These little guys are easy to make, but they somehow elevate pie to an elegance which it otherwise lacks.  You can fill them with anything — see Dani Cone’s new book, Cutie Pies, for 40 great ideas — but I recommend the classic: apple pie. The Broadway Farmers Market is open through December 18, which means that you have two more Sunday chances to load up on sweet, crisp apples.

A word about making pie crust. It’s no big deal, but if you are intimidated by the very thought you can just buy it pre-made until someday you wake up—and you will, someday—to find that you’ve gotten your nerve up to DIY.  If today’s that day, you could do worse than the recipe below, which produces a dough that’s fairly easy to handle and bakes up flaky and crispy.  The rules are simple: if it’s too sticky, just sprinkle on more flour. If it falls apart, just smoosh it back together.  Easy as pie!

Tiny Apple Pies
(Adapted from Cutie Pies, makes 16-20 depending on how thin you roll the crust)
The Crust:

  • 2 ½  c. all-purpose flour1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tb. granulated sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 tsp., but I like the crust sweeter)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ¾ c. ice water

The Filling:

  • 6-8 medium apples, mixed varieties or whatever you have, peeled and diced into ¼” cubes
  • 1 Tb. cornstarch
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch salt

To Serve:

  • Vanilla ice cream, sweetened whipped cream, or a cup of tea

Make crust by combining dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar) and mixing well.  Add the butter and smoosh it into the flour with your hands or a fork for a few moments.  You should still have big thick butter flakes in the flour when you’re done.  Next, mix in the water one or two tablespoons at a time, continuing to mix with your fork or hands.

When you’ve added all the water, you should have lots of big and little crumbs of dough.  Lay out two squares of plastic wrap, and dump half the crumbs onto each.  Use the plastic wrap to help you smoosh each dough pile into a thick disc, then wrap well and refrigerate for at least an hour.  (At this point you can leave the dough in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a few months.)

When you’re ready to make your tiny pies, preheat your oven to 375⁰F. Make your pie filling by mixing the dry ingredients in a large bowl (cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt), then mixing in the apples to coat them.

Take one disc of pie crust out of the fridge (it helps to keep the other one cold until you’re ready to use it).  For each tiny pie, cut off a golf-ball sized piece and roll it out thinly to a 5 or 6” circle, using plenty of flour.  Cone recommends rolling to ¼” thick, which makes a pretty crusty little pie.  If you want a more delicate thing, roll your dough thinner (don’t worry, they will still be pretty sturdy once they’re baked and cooled).

Lower your dough circles into ungreased muffin tin cups, pressing them gently against the sides and using scraps to patch any cracks or holes. Trim the crust flush with the top of the pan.  Re-roll scraps and use additional dough to make more little circles for the pie tops.

Fill your tiny crusts with the sweet cinnamon-y apples, then place the additional dough rounds on top.  Use a glass or jar the same size as the muffin cup to trim the pie top to a neat circle.  Use a fork to pinch the top crust onto the bottom crust all the way around, and cut some vents in the top of each tiny pie.

Bake 30 minutes or until the top of your pie is nicely browned, then check (by lifting up one tiny pie with a butter knife) to make sure that the bottom of the crust is starting to brown, too.  If necessary, continue to bake, checking every few minutes and covering the tops with foil if they start to get too brown.

Cool the pies until they are easy to handle, lift them from the muffin tins, and serve.  They also keep well for a few days and can be reheated by putting them in the oven for a few minutes at 350⁰F.

High 5 Pie is a CHS advertiser.

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Capitol Hill Cooks is a home cooking recipe series featuring ingredients, ideas, and recipes from the neighborhood. Have a recipe you think we should share? Drop us a line at

Capitol Hill Cooks | 15th Ave E inspires a seasonal soup

Out of your gourd(s) (Image: Emily Lieberman)

Wondering what to do with that leftover pumpkin from Halloween?

There are probably a lot of great ideas on the internet. This is not the recipe for you. Can’t wait until Thanksgiving to dig into your stash of Libby’s canned pumpkin? NOW we’re talking.

Our family calls this “Pumpkin Pie Soup,” but it’s even better than pumpkin pie. Or at least differently good. It IS sweet, but it’s also savory and spicy. It’s smooth, but topped with the crunch of toasted walnuts and the gooey richness of melted cheddar. In other words, it’s just great.

You might already be acquainted with this soup if you frequent the Hopvine, the Hill’s home of (great beer and) great soup. I used to hang out there, once upon a time, but now that we have munchkins I stay home and make my own soup more. Luckily Michael Congdon published this soup-er cookbook in 2004 for our home-cooking enjoyment on nights when we can’t make it to the Hop.

Share your Thanksgiving favorites
  • Send us your favorite Turkey Day recipe or post in comments. If we get enough, we’ll put together a 2011 Capitol Hill cookbook post

Pumpkin Pie Soup 
(adapted from the Southwestern Pumpkin Soup recipe in Michael Congdon’s S.O.U.P.S.: Seattle’s Own Undeniably Perfect Soups)

The Spice mix:

2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. red chile powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

The Soup:

4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. milk or cream
32 oz. can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
½ c. real maple syrup

The Toppings:

Grated cheddar cheese
Chopped toasted walnuts
Chopped fresh cilantro

First, combine all of the ingredients for the spice mix in a small bowl.

Next, combine the broth and milk in your soup pot and get them started heating up over medium-high heat.

While the liquids are coming up to a low simmer, put the pumpkin in a larger bowl and add the maple syrup and the spice mix. Whisk to combine so that the spices are completely incorporated into the pumpkin.

When the soup pot reaches a simmer, whisk in the pumpkin mixture bit by bit. Cover it and continue to simmer for 10 or 15 minutes to let the soup thicken and the flavors combine.

Serve topped with the grated cheddar, toasted walnuts, and cilantro. (And, if you’re feeling ambitious, maybe a crispy green salad with apples or pears, feta, and pumpkin seeds.)

Capitol Hill Cooks is a home cooking recipe series featuring ingredients, ideas, and recipes from the neighborhood. Have a recipe you think we should share? Drop us a line at

New Student Assignment Plan for Seattle Public Schools

Many of you probably know that Seattle Public Schools is currently considering and taking comments on a draft New Student Assignment Plan that would change the way kids are assigned to schools.

The current school assignment system is far beyond my understanding, but I’ve been told repeatedly since my kids were born that living in the neighborhood doesn’t mean that they will get into Stevens (our closest elementary school). The proposed new system would guarantee every child a spot at his or her local elementary school, among other apparent improvements. That sounds great to me, since I like the idea of my kids going to school in our neighborhood and getting to know other local youngsters.

Please consider commenting to the School Board about your own view of this proposed plan (you can also find much more information on this website).