Pasta alla Trapanese

          First!! a brief but happy explanation for my recent absence from this site.  Paulo and I are in the midst of moving to the gorgeous state of Colorado.  That has been our dream, plan, and goal for quite a few years now, and events have now aligned to make that move not only possible but necessary.  Yay!!!  Let me say that again.  Yay!!!!!!!

          Have you ever visited a place that speaks, simply but with crystalline clarity, to your very soul?  A place where you can sit quietly outside, look around in wonder, and just know without the faintest doubt that there exists something far greater, beyond rational explanation?  A place where you, as a person, realize that you can accomplish, both internally and externally, more than you had dared hope possible?  That is Colorado, for us.  I like to write, but, really, I have no adequate words to describe it.

            But I must turn from my happy little musings to the black and white (and color) of this site.  During packing, and packing, and more packing, we made this lovely recipe, which I adapted from a Saveur recipe.  Wherever you may live, wherever you may be, a bowl of this pasta will impart a taste of luscious simplicity.

Pasta alla Trapanese

 1 lb plum/Roma tomatoes

3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/2 cup basil leaves

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

8 T olive oil

2 T golden raisins

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

10 oil-packed anchovy filets, drained

2 cloves garlic

2 pepperoncini, stemmed, seeded

1 tsp salt

1 lb whole wheat fusilli (or other short, craggy pasta)

          In a food processor finely chop the tomatoes (but do not puree).  Transfer the tomatoes to a strainer and allow the excess liquid to drain away.  Return the tomatoes to the processor, and add all of the other ingredients except the pasta, along with some freshly-ground pepper.  Process until the mixture reaches a sauce-like consistency.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

          Prepare the pasta according to package directions.  Drain thoroughly, then immediately add to the bowl.  Toss with the sauce until evenly incorporated.  Serve with additional Parmesan sprinkled over top.


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