Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Bigoli in Salsa – Anchovies and Onions Pasta Sauce from Veneto

Bigoli – a type of long pasta both fresh and dried similar to Spaghetti, a little thicker than your average Spaghetti and their rough surface generally retains better the sauce you season them with. In the original recipe they are made simply with soft wheat flour, water and salt. In one of the variants there is also the addition of egg.

Bigoli are originally prepared in Veneto – and even in Lombardia region – where it is usually eaten with a delicious sauce made of just two ingredients: anchovies and onions. The name ‘Bigoli in Salsa’ (Bigoli with a Sauce), automatically identifies this specific preparation. Traditionally a dish prepared on days when meat could not be eaten that is during Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Christmas Eve.

Bigoli pasta

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: <10 mins | Cooking time: about 25-30 mins

  • Bigoli: 380 g
  • Anchovy fillets in olive oil: 8-9 single anchovies
  • White onions medium-sized: 2
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): 5 tbsp

Method

Cut onions into thin slices.

Heat up Evoo in a pan. Stir fry onions, making sure that they soften up without browning.

Tip: You can add some water and cover the pan with a lid to make sure onions remain soft.

Add anchovies to the onions and let them cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the anchovies will melt. Season to taste with some freshly ground black pepper and remove from the stove.

Tip: Don’t add any salt! The anchovies will make this dish savoury enough by themselves.

Boil Bigoli in a pot of slightly salted water and drain them when they are still al dente. Keep some of the cooking water aside: it may come in handy if the sauce ends up being too dry.

Mix Bigoli in the onion-anchovy sauce and serve warm.

Tip: You can substitute Bigoli for Spaghetti or Linguine.

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