It’s funny to think about the foods we grew up thinking were totally normal to eat, only to realize how insane they might seem to an outsider.
For instance absolutely nothing went to waste in my Mom’s house growing up, and it wasn’t uncommon for her to sit down to a big plate of sweetbreads, head cheese or jarred pigs feet for dinner. A Czechoslovakian Dad, and Mom who grew up during the Great Depression led to some very interesting meals indeed.
While my Mom was dining on pickled herring, my Dad could be found slurping Jell-O casserole made and served in a refrigerator drawer. Like, not in a bowl that was then placed into a refrigerator drawer, rather, my Grandma used to remove the drawer, mix everything up into it, then put it back in the fridge to firm up. Grab your spoon!
As for me and my brothers? Well, I wish you could have seen the look on Ben and my sister-in-law’s faces the first time my Mom served up our traditional New Year’s Day Pork and Sauerkraut feast. As the family dug into that tangy, crunchy ‘kraut, both of them confessed they never knew people actually ate sauerkraut, and were more than a little horrified.
Umm, we used to get Sauerkraut Pizza from The Tavern as a reward for good behavior. BAHAHAHA!
It’s funny because although my Mom never served crazy concoctions like rabbit casserole to us kids, and my Dad always made Jell-O salad in a bowl, God love him, our current tastes still reflect the crazy way we all grew up.
It’s probably why I don’t flinch at the fact that my Tomato Cracked Pepper Pasta with Olive Oil and Broccoli Sauce dinner was made sensational by a slightly taboo ingredient…anchovies.
Don’t click the red x! Don’t do it! I swear – they only make this dish AWESOMER. More awesome? More awesome.
Minced anchovy filets are melted into extra virgin olive oil, then enhanced by fresh garlic and parmesan cheese.
The resulting, savory sauce is nearly impossible to describe – but I bet your tastebuds would adore it, no matter what you grew up eating!
I started the dish with zee uber flavorful Tomato Cracked Pepper Pappardelle’s Pasta.
I picked this up at the Farmer’s Market a couple weeks ago and have been so excited to use it. Pappardelle’s flavored pasta is so tasty, and I highly recommend their sweet potato pappardelle, in addition to this one!
I snapped the pappardelle in half, and cooked them up in salted, boiling water.
Meanwhile I heated some olive oil up in a skillet and added in – GASP – the anchovies!!!
You can buy anchovy paste, or anchovy filets.
I like both, but there’s something sort of whimsical about peeling back the lid of the tin to see those little caper berries dotting the top of each filet. Don’t leave me, please.
I’m not lying when I say that the anchovies literally melt into the olive oil. There are no chunks, no big bits – they completely disappear.
After a fresh clove of garlic is sautéed in, fresh broccoli spears are added to the mix and sautéed in the flavor-packed oil until tender.
I learned a neat trick on Chopped the other night – to prevent your pasta from sticking together, pull it right out of the boiling pasta water…
and straight into the sauce pan. Worked like a charm!
Tomato Cracked Pepper Pasta with Olive Oil and Broccoli Sauce
Slightly adapted from PappardellesPasta.com
4oz Tomato Cracked Pepper Pappardelle’s Pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 anchovy filet, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pasta cooking water
1. Microwave/steam broccoli until it’s a little under fork tender in doneness. Meanwhile, add pasta to salted boiling water, and cook until al dente.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat and sauté the anchovies, mashing it into the olive oil with a spatula, until nearly dissolved. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add in the steamed broccoli. Season with pepper, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook until broccoli is soft.
3. When pasta is done cooking, transfer it directly into the skillet with the broccoli using tongs. Add in parmesan cheese and pasta cooking water, then stir to mix everything together.
Every bite – from the sauce soaked broccoli, to the chewy pasta – was a flavor explosion. I could eat this meatless main every single night of the week. Anchovies included!
Although I won’t flinch at adding anchovies into my pasta dishes, I draw a serious line at adding them onto my pizza – unlike my Mom who requests cheese and sauce with her anchovies. BLERG!
What crazy foods did you eat as a kid/do you eat now?