Fusilli with Anchovies and Caramelized Onions
This is a deeply satisfying bianco pasta (no tomatoes in the sauce). The anchovies disintegrate when cooked and create a salty, spicy sauce with surprising depth. The almonds and bread crumbs add richness and depth.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large Spanish (or sweet) onions, cut lengthwise in quarters, then sliced 1/4-inch thick
8-10 filets high-quality oil-cured anchovies, drained and chopped
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp red pepper flakes (more if you want more heat)
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted in a skillet
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup toasted bread crumbs
1 lb fusilli (spaghetti or farfalle would work well too)
In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden brown and very soft, about 25 mins. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to the package until just al dente.
In a sauce pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the anchovies and stir with a wooden spoon, helping the anchovy pieces to disintegrate in the oil, about 1-2 mins. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring frequently until the garlic is just beginning to color, about 2 minutes. Pour the anchovy mixture into the large skillet with the onions and keep warm over low heat.
Drain the cooked pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and add to the skillet with the anchovy-onion mixture. Add the the almonds, parsley and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, and toss to coat. Add a little cooking water as needed if it looks a little dry.
Top with grated parmesan and the remaining bread crumbs.
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