Bucatini alla Milanese

Bucatini alla Milanese

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Want a delicious Italian recipe to warm up the cold January nights?

Popular in Sicily, where it’s known as c’anciova e muddica, this pasta dish combines savoury and sweet flavours with the crunch of toasted muddica—Sicilian for mollica, or bread crumbs. According to some, Sicilians working in the north of Italy would prepare this pasta dish using salt-packed anchovies and other long shelf-life ingredients (raisins, canned tomatoes), thus recreating the flavours of the warm Sicilian summer while so far from home. The term a Milanisa, or Milanese, was used by Sicilians to describe any ‘northern’ thing. This dish was also popular with migrant farm workers, given the ingredients’ ease of transport and the quick preparation.

Ingredients For 4

Bucatini pasta
400 grams
garlic cloves
8 salt-packed
can of whole peeled plum tomatoes crushed by hand
200 grams
bread crumbs
100 grams
pine nuts
small handful
1 handful (sultana)
olive oil
salt & pepper
Fresh parsley
1-2 Tbls (optional)
dried hot pepper flakes (optional)


Soak the raisins in water for a few minutes. Mince the garlic. Rinse the anchovies, open them and remove the small bones. Finely chop the onion and cook in olive oil until softened, then add the garlic and anchovy and continue cooking on low heat and stirring until the anchovy dissolves. Add the tomato and about a half cup of hot water and stir well. Drain and add the raisins and pine nuts. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until you have dense sauce.

Meanwhile, bring a tall pot of water to boil. In a small shallow pan over low heat, toast the bread crumbs in a small amount of oil. Add a a pinch of salt and pepper and stir with a wooden spoon until they turn golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Salt the pasta water and cook the bucatini al dente. Drain the pasta, transfer to the sauce pan and combine well. Plate the pasta and garnish each portion with the toasted bread crumbs and (optional) fresh chopped parsley and a sprinkle of dried pepper flakes.


Buon appetito!

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