“Bigoli in salsa” is their true name – a typical dish from the Veneto region – home to the famous city of Venice. The dish is a super simple one, in italian known as a “piatto povero” because it was prepared on the Church “days of abstinence”, such as Ash Wednesday, Easter Friday and Christmas Eve.
Bigoli are a typical type of pasta from Veneto, very similar to spaghetti but thicker – and usually home-made. Most families will own a “bigolaro” – the traditional machine to make them but almost impossible to find outside of Veneto. It is thought that this machine was brought to Italy by Marco Polo from China, where they were using it to make soy noodles.
The name bigoli refers to their shape – similar to a long caterpillar which translates to bigat in the venetian dialect. The chance of finding bigoli in Australia is very slim – substituting with spaghetti is perfectly acceptable – I recommend the thickest you can find. I used Pasta Garofalo‘s spaghetti alla chitarra.
The dish is traditionally made with only onions and anchovies, cooked in extra virgin olive oil on low heat until they have almost ‘melted’. I add a few tablespoons of vinegar, a recommendation I picked up on when we visited Venice. Similarly I add a sprinkle of breadcrumbs before serving the dish – just to add a bit of texture.
- 200g of bigoli (or the thickest spaghetti you can find - I used Pasta Garofalo spaghetti alla chitarra)
- 1 white onion
- 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
- 8 anchovies
- 2 tbsp of bread crumbs
- Firstly, chop the white onion very finely.
- Heat a few tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan on very low heat and add the chopped onion. Cook the onions until soft on very low heat. I find that cooking them with a lid avoids drying them out and makes them soften quicker. If the onion starts to dry out, add one or two tbsp of warm water.
- In the mean time, put a large pot of water on medium heat and bring to the boil.
- When boiling - add 2 tbsp of sea salt and add the spaghetti to the pot. Cook according to packet instructions - Pasta Garofalo's spaghetti alla chitarra cook in 11 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the white wine vinegar and the anchovies to the onions along with 1 tbsp of pasta water and cook on very low heat, mixing with a wooden spoon. The ingredients should almost "melt".
- Before draining the pasta, hold back 1-2 tbsp of pasta water and mix through the sauce.
- Drain the pasta and return to the pan with the anchovies and onions and mix through. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs before serving.
- Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pasta Garofalo, however all opinions are my own.