Spaghetti Caesare

This is adapted from Massimo Bottura’s 2014 cookbook Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, published by Phaidon. The recipe is a nod to American Caesar salad. Colatura di alici is a fermented anchovy sauce that is delightful. If you can’t find it, substitute fish sauce.

Garlic Cream:

1 large head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled

2 cups whole milk

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar

Caper Pesto:

1 tbsp finely chopped anchovies

1/4 cup finely chopped pine nuts

1/3 cup capers, chopped

1 tsp grated garlic

1 tsp olive oil

Parsley Oil:

1 cup packed parsley leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

Pinch of salt

Crunchy Bread Crumbs:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp chili oil

1 cup crumbled day-old bread

Spaghetti:

12 oz (350 g) spaghetti

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp colatura di alici (anchovy extract), plus more to garnish

2 cups fish or chicken stock

To make garlic cream, slice garlic cloves in half and remove green stem from inside. Place cloves in 1 cup milk and leave at room temperature for 4 hours. Spoon garlic from milk and discard milk. Bring remaining 1 cup milk, salt and sugar to a simmer. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, reserving milk and garlic separately.

Purée garlic in a blender, adding enough reserved milk to make a creamy paste, about 1/4 cup. Reserve.

To make caper pesto, finely chop anchovies, pine nuts, capers and garlic and combine. Stir in oil. Reserve.

To make parsley oil, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add parsley leaves and bring back to a boil. Drain immediately and plunge into cold water. Pat dry. Place in a blender with 1/4 cup oil and a pinch of salt and purée until smooth, scraping down as needed. Reserve.

To make bread crumbs, heat olive oil and chili oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toast until crunchy, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 5 minutes. It will still be quite firm. Drain and return to a large frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp colatura di alici, 1/3 cup garlic cream and 1/3 cup caper pesto. Add 1 cup stock and cook for 5 more minutes or until liquid disappears and pasta is al dente. Add more stock if needed. Stir in more garlic cream or pesto to taste.

Divide pasta between plates. Drizzle with parsley oil, a few more drops of colatura di alici and top with bread crumbs.

Suggested Wine Pairings:

For the tangy, salty Spaghetti Caesare, get back to basics with, yes, a simple, zingy Soave or verdicchio. – Beppi Crosariol