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by Marisa Olsen

Recipe: Spaghetti with Anise and Pancetta

Years ago, I made dinner for my  brother and his friend as a farewell before going abroad for their junior semester. My heart wanted to go big; homemade fried calamari, an intricate salad, and a Catalan dish (my brother studied in Barca). 

But alas, work got the best of me and I put together a pasta dish. I never documented this meal, so I finally revisited (about two years later). Here you go! 

What you will need:
Can of crushed tomatoes (I recommend La Valle)
Olive Oil
2 thick slices of pancetta 
1 anise bulb, chopped
A few splashes of white wine (or Pernod or something anise-flavored)
Parmesan cheese

Use an iron skillet or dutch oven and pan-fry the pancetta until crisp. Remove from the pan and blot. Add olive oil and the chopped anise with salt and pepper to the skillet. Once the anise is translucent, add the can of diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Add a splash (or two) of wine and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile boil the water and cook the spaghetti. Once the noodles are cooked, combine the sauce with spaghetti and add all the parm to your liking. I also like to take some of the anise sprigs and sprinkle over the dish.  

Note: this sauce is great as a leftover. I added fresh spinach and served it over penne. Delicious.

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