As a company with half of its roots from Italy, we love pasta and learning about different types of pasta sauce. This particular sauce is not only interesting because it has a number of non-traditional ingredients (and we know how traditional Italians can be about their pasta and sauces) but it has a very intriguing history. In 1932 this sauce won the culinary magazine La Cucina Italiana’s Best Pasta Sauce prize. Even more intriguing was that this sauce was named after a radical poet who was at the time trying to banish pasta from Italy. You can read the whole story in the link that tells of The Sauce that Survived Italy’s War on Pasta.
Ingredients – adapted from Toscana Mia blog.
- 2 peeled potatoes
- One thick slice of ham, chopped
- One small onion, minced
- One small carrot, minced
- One stick of celery, minced
- A handful of parsley leaves, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
- A spoonful of capers
- 2 oz chopped anchovies or anchovy paste
- 3 fresh artichoke hearts, quartered and thinly sliced
- Olive oil, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- One 500 g (17.6 oz) box of dried spaghetti alla chitarra (or other dried pasta)
- 1/2 cup shelled green pistachios, thinly sliced
- Parmesan cheese to taste
- Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted (not too salty though) water until soft. Remove the potatoes from the pot and reserve the water, which will be used to thicken the sauce. The potatoes can be used for a different recipe.
- Set a separate pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
- Fry the ham in butter, then add onion, carrot, and celery until softened.
- Add parsley, the tomato sauce, and a few spoonfuls of the potato water to the pan. Let the sauce reduce.
- Pour the sauce into a blender and add the anchovies and capers. Blend until thick and smooth. Return the sauce to the pan, adding more potato water if too dry.
- In a separate pan, saute the artichokes in butter and olive oil until crispy.
- Meanwhile, boil the pasta in the pot of salted water until al dente. Once the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the sauce, tossing the pasta with parmesan and extra butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pasta to a serving plate and top with any remaining sauce. Garnish with the fried artichokes and sliced pistachios.