A Squared: Friday Finds: Southern Style Spaghettini

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Finds: Southern Style Spaghettini

I took a little trip down Memory Lane for this week's Friday Finds and am channeling my months living in Florence. I have reminisced about my travels there a few times on this blog, so I figured let's go back again one more time!  While perusing my cookbook shelves I came across Za Za's Trattoria of Florence and His Recipes of Typical Tuscan Cooking.  Za Za's was one of my favorite restaurants in Florence-- one that my roommate and I made sure every visitor from the US dined at with us while staying in Florence.  It was in a great location, an adorable restaurant, with delicious authentic Tuscan food at decent prices.  I bought this cookbook after our last meal just there days before flying home and I am ashamed to say I have never used it until now!

I have been trying to prepare some healthier dinners this week (in preparation for all of the eating I will be doing in Las Vegas next week) and of course Tuscan cooking is not known for being light. I will definitely revisit some of these other recipes when I am not being so careful about what I am eating, but I was pleased to find this Southern Italian inspired pasta recipe in the book. It reminds me of a puttanesca, which I have made before, but incorporating more veggies. I made a few slight substitutions: zucchini for eggplant and kalamata olives for black olives. The next time I make it I will also use slightly less olive oil as well-- there was just a little too much.

Overall, it was delicious and I hope you enjoy it and that you'll visit Za Za's when you make it to Florence. I certainly plan on stopping in when we visit again!

  • 14 oz. spaghettini *Spaghetti or Angel Hair will both work too
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 anchovies *I used 1 tsp. anchovy paste instead
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and diced *My husband doesn't like eggplant, so I subbed in zucchini
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup pitted black olives, chopped *I used kalamata instead
  • Handful of capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 7-8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, grated
Grill the pepper on top of the stove, then peel it under running water, and then dry it with paper towels. Finely slice and set aside.

Saute the garlic in 1/2 cup oil, then add the anchovies (de-boned if you are using the actual fish), eggplant (or zucchini), and once they have all started to turn color, add the tomatoes. Boil for five minutes then add the peppers, olives, capers, and the basil leaves. Salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 25 minutes.

In the meantime cook the spaghettini firm to the bite (al dente) in salted water.  Once cooked, add the pasta directly to the pan with the sauce and stir briskly over heat. Serve hot with grated pecorino.

Recipe courtesy of Za Za's Trattoria of Florence and His Recipes of Typical Tuscan Cooking by Stefano Bondi.

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