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Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.
I feel it is very important for you not to feel prejudiced against pasta just because it resembles the slug at the bottom of a Mezcal bottle and has a name that makes you think of odors.
Those were my original issues with Maloreddus with Anchovies, Orange, and Malvasia and had I stayed so inexplicably prejudiced I might have become the subject of a Supreme Court case! Or just remained hungry.
The thing is, I couldn’t actually find maloreddus or malvasia, but that did not stop me from making this incredibly simple and weirdly exciting dish.
Let me tell you, I made the effort people! I went to the local Italian grocery store, which I emerged from carrying a bag of pasta that was literally as tall as my 8-year-old, a ton of delicious anchovies and gnocchetti rustici, which the storekeeper recommended as the best possible substitute for maloreddus, pasta from Sardinia fashioned from Semolina Flour. The FOOD52 team ended up using fusili, which we won't hold against them (but this is what the pasta should look like).
My first tip: do not be fooled by the tiny small size of this pasta. It takes a solid ten minutes to cook, and undercooking it will leave you with a hard slightly unpleasant center. Get that water boiling right away, as you cut up your anchovies, onions, garlic, and zest that orange. A cup of pasta for four seemed too little for my family; I upped the pasta to about a cup and half, and added an extra anchovy or two to the sauce, but that’s because I am aggressive with my bottom feeding fish.
While all your stuff comes together in the sauce pan, you will slowly add some pasta water while you wait for those wormy guys too cook up. I put up some nice asparagus from the market as a side, even though I understand perfectly well that is not really done. I deglazed my pan with the orange juice and a sauvignon blanc, though if you can get a dessert wine I do recommend it.
When your pasta is finally cooked, you toss it in your sauce, slicking it all up and making sure to get those lovely bits of onions. I do agree with Meatballs&Milkshakes that you need to top this with the best olive oil you have. How about fruity and sweet Sicilian oil? No? Give it the best you’ve got. Careful with your orange zest – it quickly becomes the star of this dish if you use a heavy hand, kind of like Jenna pushing Liz Lemon out of the scene.
I never thought about anchovies with orange. Why is that? Is it because I spend most of my time holed up in my DC kitchen thinking about new ways to perfect a chocolate chip cookie? I don’t know really, but this dish is going into the rotation. In a pinch, I’ll use fusilli.
1 cup Maloreddus, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 ounces Malvasia
Photo by James Ransom