The key players were anchovies and garlic. Before you protest that you don't care for small, salty fish, stay tuned and see where I'm going with this!
Bagna Cauda is traditionally a warm dip typical of Piedmont, Italy. It's served warm and made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil, butter, and sometimes cream. Here I've made the traditional dish a bit lighter (no cream or butter) and mixed it with red peppers, spinach, olives and shrimp. Served over pasta, it's a healthy, hearty, and complete one-pot-meal!
This is actually quick and easy to prepare. You will wow guests, and your kiddos will love it, too (perhaps minus the spinach.) Delicious!
- 8-ounces dry pasta (I love Pappardelle for this recipe!)
- 1 (8-ounce) jar roasted, peeled red peppers, drained
- 1 (2-ounce) tin of anchovies in their oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- Juice of 1 medium lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 cups packed, fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 pound cooked, medium shrimp
- Pepper to taste
Serves 4 to 6
Total Prep and Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until it's al dente — just tender but still firm to bite.
While the pasta is cooking, add the peppers, anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour this mixture into a medium-sized sauce pan, bring to a boil, and then simmer gently until the pasta is ready.
Drain the pasta in a colander and put it back into the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and add the sugar, olives, spinach, and shrimp, and season to taste with the pepper.
Some additional notes:
I don't use any salt in this recipe because the anchovies are plenty salty in their own right!
I've mentioned before that I used to love doing everything from scratch (roasting peppers, de-veining my own shrimp, pitting my own olives, etc), but what parent has that kind of time? It's a huge time saver here to use pre-cooked shrimp, jarred, roasted peppers, and so forth. Get the idea? Great!