Daring Sauce of Vaguely Sicilian Origin, Version 2.0
I can't stand on my foot for very long still, so tonight's recipe had to be fast. Not that the one I posted here recently was that time-consuming. It's just that the new version is especially simple:
•Bring water to a boil and add the dried pasta of your choice •Chop a large onion •Open a can of anchovies in olive oil and pour the contents into a cast-iron pan • Turn on the heat to medium-high • Add the onion pieces • Take a try pasilla or ancho pepper and cut it into bite-sized pieces, taking care to retain the seeds • Combine the dried pepper with two or three handfuls of the tree nut of your choice. I used cashews tonight, to excellent effect • Chop the pepper and nut mixture in a mini-Cuisinart or equivalent. Or mash them up with a mortar and pestle. You'll know they're sufficiently mixed when the nut pieces start to turn reddish • Once the onion has turned translucent, turn he heat down to low and add two or three handfuls of raisins • Cook the raisins, onion and anchovies for a few minutes on low, stirring frequently to prevent the raisins from burning • Add white wine to cover the bottom of the pan and turn up the heat to medium high again • Once the wine is hot and bubbling, stir in the pepper and nut mixture • Since the nut pieces will rapidly absorb liquid, it is important to turn the heat down to low very soon after they have been added to the pan. Stir frequently • Continue to cook for several more minutes, until half of the liquid is gone • Add a few spoonfuls of the boiling pasta water to the pan • Once again, cook on low until half the liquid in the pan has evaporated • Turn off the heat • Add the juice of two or three lemons • Cut a handful or two of mint leaves into smallish pieces, taking care to discard the stems • Add the mint leaves to the pan and stir • Serve over pasta with pecorino romano or an equivalent hearty, dried cheese.
This may not sound like an impressive sauce, but the combination of strong flavors is seductive, particularly on a hot summer's day like today was here. Also, it tastes great at room temperature.