by Leslie Uhl, CCP
Consider our Merchandising Team here at Di Bruno’s the Lewis and Clark of food exploration.
We have a duo of product-wranglers (Lindsay A. and Hunter F.) who scour the earth for only the most incredible culinary delights, oddities, rare gems, and undiscovered delicacies of the world. They are the Food-iana Jones and the Temple of Food, the Raiders of the Food Ark if you will.
Want another bad metaphor? Okay! They’re the Simon and Gar-food-el to our Bridge over Food-led Waters.
Sometimes they turn up at headquarters holding some seriously weird stuff, and we’re all a little nervous when they hand us things like encapsulated olive oil beads, green walnut syrup, or this crazy-lookin’ tiny bottle of brownish liquid called Colatura Anchovy Extract.
We were all like, “What the heck is Anchovy Extract?”
And they were all like, “Trust us, it’s amazing.”
So we were all like, “But how do w—”
And they were all like, “Shut your mouths and eat this.”
And we did, and here is the recipe we ate. Get ready.
Bucatini with Colatura and Capers
(1) 17.6 oz pkg Benedetto Cavalieri Bucatini Pasta – this is the pasta we used, but feel free to sub in your favorite “noods” or whatever’s handy!
2 Tbsp. (divided) DB Classico Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Mahjoub Wild Capers (more or less to taste)
1-2 tsp. Colatura Anchovy Extract (more or less to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano garnish
Bring a large pot of 4-6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add about 2 Tbsp. fine sea salt or table salt to the boiling water before dropping in your package of pasta. (Fun fact! Sure, you can put your pasta into cold water and bring it to a boil all mixed together, but many experts—including non-expert me!—agree that adding pasta post-boil maintains a nuttier, fuller flavor.)
After cooking for 7-8 minutes, or until al dente, drain your pasta and return to the pot. (Again, “experts plus me” like to keep a small amount of the pasta water in the pot to keep some flavor and some extra starch in your final dish. Think 1/4 cup of pasta water per pound.)
As simple as this recipe is, you do have one decision to make. These awesome capers from Les Moulins Mahjoub are hand-picked in Tunisia and packed in sea salt. They dry out a bit, and you can choose to keep them as-is, or rehydrate them! Rehydrating them will do two things: 1) it’ll knock off some of that excess salt, and 2) it’ll plump those little suckers up for a juicier bite. To accomplish this, soak your capers in a dish of room-temp water for about 5 minutes and then drain.
Add all the good stuff! Get those capers in the pot, stir 1.5 Tbsp. of that olive oil in, and drizzle your new favorite anchovy extract all around. I’d recommend starting on the small side with the capers and Colatura because these are strong flavors. Add tiny amounts and taste until you find your sweet spot! Mix it up good, folks, and don’t be shy.
Serve with a drizzle of remaining olive oil (now would be the time to use that super expensive stuff, too, like this finishing oil, and a healthy pinch of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Add cracked pepper if you like, and salt as needed—remember that your pasta water AND the capers contain salt, so watch out for over-salting!
This is oh-so-simple, but we’re obsessed with how good a five step recipe can be with the right products. The Colatura does wonders for an already-stellar imported pasta by adding a deep undertone of flavor without overwhelming. When added correctly (by tasting as you go!) this syrup shouldn’t taste fishy, but earthy, complex, and vibrant. Little pops of umami from the capers mixed with velveteen oil, and we’re totally enamored with our new, tiny bottle.
All thanks to our fearless food duo who sail the seven seas of flavor, solving the universe’s delicious mysteries as Sherlock Foods and Doctor Food-son!