What’s For Dinner?
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, some parts of New Orleans life have returned. Homes have been rebuilt. Favorite haunts have reopened. The Mardi Gras parties and parades should be as raucous as ever.
But as any survivor will tell you, the devastating losses will be felt forever. Being able to serve their friends and families familiar dishes -- especially if prepared according to a recipe once believed to have been lost -- has proved a tremendous comfort.
This dish, Pasta Milanese, is a Lenten specialty often served on March 19 when New Orleanians of Sicilian descent observe St. Joseph’s Day, a tribute to the patron saint who they believed saved their ancestors from famine.
Capers, olives and anchovies give this quick sauce a robust flavor (and plenty of sodium, so season gently). Use the rest of the fennel bulb to create a beautiful salad of thinly sliced raw fennel, orange segments and avocado slices.
-- Susan Puckett, for the Journal Constitution
Hands on time: 20 minutes Total time: 35 minutes Serves: 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb (about 1/4 bulb)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 anchovy fillets, chopped
1/4 cup pitted Niçoise olives or pitted chopped kalamata olives
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs and/or grated Parmesan cheese
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and place in a large pasta bowl. Toss with the sauce and top with bread crumbs and/or grated cheese.