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Bigoli with Sardines and Anchovies

For the dough…

Bigoli are traditionally made with whole-wheat flour, so I combined 200 grams of 00 flour with 100 grams of Einkorn flour (or whatever “whole-wheat” variation you prefer). Mix with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and ½-¾ cup warm water until a shaggy dough forms. Knead vigorously until smooth for ~10 minutes. Wrap tightly and rest for ~30 minutes.


For the sauce…

Finely chop 1 yellow onion and 1 small fennel bulb. Sweat vegetables over low heat until translucent and very soft, occasionally adding a small amount of water to prevent browning, for about 30 minutes. Stir in 2-4 minced garlic cloves and cook ~1-2 minutes, followed by a tablespoon or so of capers and as many anchovy fillets as you’d like. Break up the anchovies and cook until dissolved and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Time to shape…

Rolling these “bigoli” by hand is the same process as the Tuscan pici:

  1. Cut off about 1/4 of the dough and, with a rolling pin, roll the section into a slab about 1/2 centimeter thick. Brush the dough lightly with olive oil on all sides to prevent drying.

  2. Cut the slab into strips about 1 centimeter wide.

  3. Roll each strip into ropes, about the thickness of bucatini. Do this quickly to prevent drying and breakage.

  4. Dust in semolina flour, then wrap gently into a nest and set aside. Repeat until all the dough is formed. It’s best to cook immediately; otherwise, refrigerate and shake out the nests occasionally to prevent clumping and dust in more flour.

Finishing touches…

Toast a generous amount (~1 cup) of panko breadcrumbs in a non-stick pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt over medium heat; stir until all breadcrumbs are coated in oil. Continue stirring until crumbs are golden--do not leave unattended! Remove from heat and set aside. Reheat the sauce over medium-low. Remove the skin and spines from 3-5 oil-packed sardines (it’s worth investing in the good ones!) and flake them into the sauce. Stir to combine, along with half of the breadcrumbs. Cook bigoli in well-salted water until al dente. Carefully transfer with tongs to the pan with the sauce and toss to combine. Serve topped with flat-leaf parsley, additional olive oil, and the remaining breadcrumbs. Enjoy!



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