GARLIC WITH GUNS

Dear Amelia,
Long story short: Nanna was once told by an Italian drug dealer that you should never fry your chopped garlic for longer than 30 seconds.
Just fry it until it’s fragrant, he said. No longer.
And because he had a gun in his bag, Nanna was inclined to believe him.
That was in Manjimup in 1974, when the local pub was like something out of The Wild Bunch and you never knew who you’d meet over a middy (but guess what – it was never William Holden).
For some reason  – possibly because I was terrified – I’ve never forgotten Mr I.D.D.’s garlic-frying rule and to this day I whip the frying pan off the heat the second the smell hits my nostrils.
Then I discovered a dish called Orecchiette with Broccoli, Anchovies and Chilli and realised that sometimes rules are made to be broken.
This dish is apparently a very old, traditional one and there are dozens of different recipes for it on the Internet.
Your Grandpa and I love it so much, I cook it every couple of weeks.
You need to use proper orecchiette, not the San Remo stuff.
Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian and looks like this.

Proper orecchiette is very easy to get hold of.
Believe me: if you can buy it at Woolies in Albany you’ll be able to get it in Tashkent.
If you hate broccoli, you’ll still love this dish.
If you hate anchovies, you’ll still love this dish.
Trust me. I’m your Nanna.

ORECCHIETTE WITH BROCCOLI, ANCHOVIES AND CHILLI

Serves 3 (or 2 for dinner and enough left over for 2 small lunches – it reheats well the next day in the microwave)

300g orecchiette
1 lge head of broccoli
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
6-8 anchovy fillets, chopped roughly
a splash of olive oil
40g butter
2 big pinches of crushed, dried chilli
one-third of a cup of grated parmesan cheese

Put a big pot of salted water over high heat and bring to the boil.
Add the orecchiette and cook according to packet directions (the Pirro brand you see in the picture takes 18 minutes).
As soon as you’ve put the water on to boil, cut the broccoli into small-ish florets, reserving as much stalk as possible.
Put the florets in a saucepan of water, bring them to the boil, cook for 3 minutes, drain them, then run them under cold water to stop them cooking.
Put to one side.
Cut the broccoli stalks into chunks then put them in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
Heat the oil and half the butter in a big frypan over low heat and cook the chopped-up broccoli stalks, garlic, anchovies and dried chilli for 10 minutes, covered, stirring every now and then.
When the orecchiette is cooked, put a ladle of pasta water in the frypan, tip in the drained pasta, the broccoli florets, the remaining butter and half the parmesan cheese and stir until it’s all hot and combined.
Serve it with the remaining parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

Advertisements

2 Comments on “GARLIC WITH GUNS”

  1. ElleEmGee says:

    Yum, yum, yum!
    My mouth is watering at the thought of devouring a steaming hot bowl of this.
    It has to be one of my favourite dishes of all time passed down from my nonna to my dad to me. So simple yet so damn delicious. How could it be anything but awesome – pasta, chilli, garlic, olive oil and garlic – DIVINE!
    Unfortunately my partner doesn’t like broccoli so I don’t get to eat it as much as like.
    Too bloody bad – I know what I’m eating for dinner tonight.
    BTW your blog is awesome.

    • Michele says:

      How I would’ve loved for my nanna to be Italian.
      And thanks for the compliment re the blog.
      I consider myself very lucky to have a commenter who loves this dish AND knows how to spell divine!


Please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s