Spaghetti alla Sylvia Thompson

By • February 25, 2014 2 Comments

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Author Notes: Sylvia Thompson's book, "Feasts and Friends", is one of my most revisited cookbooks, at least for reading. She lives her life in an interesting way, and was the god daughter of MFK Fisher and the daughter of film star Gloria Stuart. She is a great, ambitious cook and gardener, wife and mother. This recipe for a Sunday sauce came from Spacca-Napoli and I have simplified it and made it dozens of times for a crowd.luvcookbooks

Serves 10

  • 3 red peppers, diced
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, chopped in two or three pieces each
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 large purple eggplant, diced into 1 inch pieces without peeling
  • 2 ounces preserved anchovies
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • handful fresh basil or dried oregano to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.5 pounds rigatoni
  • grated Parmesan
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy casserole, enough to film the bottom and a little more. Saute the garlic slices for a few minutes. Do not let them color, but make sure they soften and start to smell fragrant.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes and peppers. Add a little more olive oil. Small drops should appear at the top of the sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes.
  3. When peppers are starting to soften, add the eggplant with a little more oil. You don't want too much. Only add oil until small drops appear on the surface. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until everything is tender but not falling apart. If it takes less time, so be it. Check every 15 minutes or so.
  4. Break the anchovies into small pieces. Drain if using canned, and soak to de salinate if using salted. Stir in along with the capers and olives. Simmer for another five minutes. Add salt (if needed) and pepper to taste. I like lots of pepper. This is a hearty dish.
  5. Cook the rigatoni (she uses spaghetti, but I feel the sauce is too hearty and slips off the spaghetti-- I did try it because I have deep respect for her).
  6. Stir in the basil, sauce the pasta and serve with additional Parmesan and even olive oil if desired. A nice red wine and salad are all that is needed.
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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yum. This sounds wonderful. Definitely saving it to give it a try!


over 1 year ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

Happy to hear you liked the recipe. Just be sure to have a crowd on hand. It will rest quietly off the heat for a few hours, which is handy, but once it goes in the refrigerator it will not be the same.