Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Anchovy Experiment

Have you ever tried anchovies?  Before last week I'd only heard of them being served on pizza and had never been brave enough to try them.  It seemed as if they were either something that people loved or hated and I honestly couldn't think of anyone who loved them!

The latest issue of SELF Magazine has an article entitled The Pasta Lover's Diet with six guilt-free recipes.  They all looked yummy, but the one that caught my eye was Rigatoni with Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas.  I love chickpeas!  The high-fiber beans were highlighted as the star of the recipe.  I decided to give this recipe a try; however, I was completely caught off-guard when I started to add the list of ingredients to my shopping list: 

1 can (2  oz) anchovies packed in oil, chopped, oil reserved

What??  Anchovies???  Ewwwwww!  I debated making the recipe without the anchovies, but after some thought decided to jump in with both feet.  I always tell JJ and Ellie that you can't say you don't like something if you've never tried it.  It was time to Walk the Walk and not just Talk the Talk.  Bring on the anchovies! 


1 can (2 oz) anchovies packed in oil, chopped, oil reserved
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas (liquid reserved), rinsed and drained
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 lb broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 lb whole-wheat rigatoni
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, saute anchovies with oil and garlic until anchovies dissolve and garlic browns.  Add chickpea liquid and bouillon to anchovies; cook, stirring, until bouillon dissolves.  Pour anchovy mixture into roasting pan; add chickpeas and broccoli; stir to coat.  Roast 20 minutes.  Cook rigatoni as directed on package until al dente.  Drain rigatoni, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.  Add pasta to chickpea-broccoli mixture; roast until pasta is completely cooked, adding reserved liquid a little at a time and stirring to reach desired consistency, 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven; let sit 5 minutes; serve topped with Romano.
Serves 4.  450 calories, 7 g fat (2g saturated), 77 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 25 g protein

This pasta dish is SOOOO good!  The recipe was fairly simple to make.  I ended up putting the veggies in a roasting dish that wasn't big enough to hold the pasta, too.  Instead of dirtying another dish, I added the veggies to the pasta on the stove and completed cooking it there rather than putting it in the oven.  As it states in the directions, the anchovies dissolve as you cook them so it didn't really even feel like I was eating them!  My family wouldn't have known either except for the smell that filled the kitchen (though my children are in that hormonal dramatic stage so their reaction was a tad exaggerated!).

Not interested in giving the anchovies a try?  No problem!  Ironically, my sister found this recipe at the same time and decided to try it, too.  We were talking about these fabulous new recipes we had tried and discovered that we both tried the same one.  Guess what?  She left out the anchovies!  Even without them, she enjoyed the dish as much as I did. 

Anchovies or not, this is a healthy yummy pasta recipe.  If you've never made anything with anchovies, I encourage you to experiment and give them a try!

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