Every Christmas Eve was spent with my husband’s family. Being of Italian descent, pasta was always on the menu. My mother-in-law made not one pasta dish, but two! One was a tomato based sauce with lobster and crab. The other was a white anchovy and nut sauce. Every year all 20 some odd people would debate which one was better. It really didn’t matter, because we all ate both and enjoyed every bite.
Year after year, (there were a lot of years) I would help my mother-in-law Rose, prepare the dinner. I helped because it was huge undertaking to make a big meal for 20 or more people, besides I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to learn how to make her recipes. She didn’t have any of them written down. The only way I was going to learn, was by cooking along side of her.
We no longer have Christmas Eve dinner with my husband’s family, but I do make some of Rose’s recipes. The Anchovy-nut pasta is now part of my family’s holiday meal. I did however, make a few minor changes. If she ever knew, she would surely give me the malocchio. (all you Italian people reading this know what I’m talking about..the evil eye)
Rose’s sauce was basically anchovy and walnuts. I added hazelnuts, pine nuts and raisins. I love the addition of raisins. It added a touch of sweetness that balanced out the saltiness from the anchovy. Unlike my mother-in-law, I wrote down this recipe and all my others, in hopes that they carry on. If changes happen along the way, I promise there will be no malocchio from me! 😉