Bigoli with onions, anchovies and tuna

After seeing this made at La Bigolada, I knew I had to try making it at home. The recipe for this is so easy that I’m writing it how my mother-in-law would, with only a general suggestion on ingredient amounts. Bigoli is like fat spaghetti and I’ve learned that they’re also made with wholewheat flour. If bigoli or thick strand spaghetti isn’t available in your store then use regular spaghetti – in the end it’ll be the rest of the ingredients that makes the difference. This dish came about during the period of Lent when rich foods were frowned upon by the church.

Ingredients for 4 people: 700 grams [1½ lbs] fresh bigoli pasta or 400 grams [14 oz] dried, 1 small onion, 2 salted anchovies, 1 small can tuna (in oil or water), olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Rinse the anchovies free of salt and remove the inner bone. Finely chop the onions and gently saute in a small amount of oil until fragrant. Add the cleaned anchovies and continue to cook gently until the anchovies begin to dissolve. Stir in the tuna and its liquid contents, and continue to cook on low heat until all breaks down to a fragrant sauce. Add some of the pasta water if it becomes too dry.

In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente or according to package directions. Drain and add to the sauce mixture; mix well to combine. Divide into individual portions and serve.

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