In Italy, pasta is more than just a food – it is a tradition and a way of life with a long history. In most Italian homes, no meal is complete without a plate of pasta, no matter how it is enjoyed – from a quick basic spaghetti with tomato sauce, to elaborate baked dishes or a simple soup.!
This is the beauty of pasta, it is simple to prepare, very versatile and you can make it to suit any occasion and budget. And this is probably why it has become a popular food all over the world. Let’s face it, most people love pasta!
“ At last, a whole book dedicated to my favourite food! There is no limit to the joys of pasta and I can quite happily enjoy it every day!”
Join Gennaro on an exciting Italian adventure and discover a delicious range of over 100 recipes for fresh, dried, filled and baked pasta dishes. Enjoy recreating Gennaro’s favourite pasta dishes, from the traditional classics to more updated versions of Italy’s greatest food.
Wholemeal Tagliatelle with Anchovies and Walnuts
Birboni is an ancient pasta of the Amalfi Coast, the origins of which lie in the housewife’s kitchen. Whenever fresh pasta was made, in order not to waste a thing, all the flour that did not end up in the pasta dough would be collected (even swept up from the floor!) and reused to make into more pasta! It became so popular that factories started to make this wholemeal (whole wheat) variety of tagliatelle, sold as ‘birboni’. Obviously, it is now made with clean flour!
Birboni are usually combined with a few simple, local ingredients: anchovies and Colatura di Alici, a concentrated anchovy sauce that comes from the coastal village of Cetara. The sauce is available in Italian delis, however birboni are only obtainable in the local area, so I have substituted wholemeal (whole wheat) tagliatelle here.
Cooking time 20 mins
300 g/101/2 oz wholemeal (whole wheat) tagliatelle
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, left whole
10 anchovy fillets
60 g/21/4 oz/1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp Colatura di Alici (anchovy sauce)
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente (check the instructions on your packet for cooking time).
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or frying pan (skillet) set over a medium heat. Add the chilli and garlic, and sweat for 1 minute, then add the anchovy fillets and continue to cook until the anchovies have melted. Stir in the chopped walnuts, half of the parsley, and a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked. Remove and discard the garlic cloves.
- Drain the tagliatelle, add to the sauce along with the Colatura di Alici and mix well to combine. Remove from the heat and serve with the remaining parsley sprinkled over.