Spaghetti with anchovy sauce – Bigoli in salsa
This is a classic in the Veneto region. We make it a bit differently here in Verona we don’t in fact add onions. I prefer the Venetian version because is more delicate.
The dish has a very interesting name. Bigoli means Spaghetti in the Veneto dialect. Salsa simply means sauce, but in this case everyone knows that salsa refers to an anchovy sauce.
The “bigoli in salsa” are the dish to eat on Christmas eve, Ash Wednesday and on Holy Friday when by the Roman Catholic Church you should practice abstinence from meat.
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
3-1/2 oz. anchovies packed in salt
1-3/4 cups thinly sliced onions
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste
1. In a large fry pan sauté the onions in 1/4 cup olive oil.
2. Meanwhile clean the anchovies by removing the spine the tail and washing them well.
3. Once the onions start to brown lightly add a few tablespoons of water, mix, cover and reduce the heat. Continue cooking them until they’ve softened up, for about 20 minutes. Mix them every so often and add a spoon of water if they dry too much.
4. While the onions are cooking put the water on for the pasta.
5. When the onions are ready break the anchovies in to pieces with your hands and add them to the onions.
6. Mix them in gently and they’ll start to melt into the onions.
7. Add the remaining olive oil and simmer for another couple of minutes.
8. When the pasta is ready drain it and add it to the sauce.
9. Mix and serve hot.
If you can’t find anchovies packed in salt then you can use anchovies in oil, they aren’t as good but they’ll do. Of course you need to use less if they are already cleaned.