lI am a relatively old dog who loves a new trick, especially when it comes to ingredients. Before I made fideuà, I always cooked my pasta. Fideuà is a traditional Valencian dish like paella, but made with pasta, which is cooked by being dipped in stock and gently bathed until perfectly tender. In this recipe, I’ve used fennel, pepper, and my old teammates, onion, and garlic to bring out the back, with fruity kalamata olives and artichokes striding up the front. It’s a meal worthy of a feast for old dogs and all.
Fennel, pepper and black olives fideuà
You cannot rush the breaking of the paste, so enlist the help of a conscientious child if you have one. For this you need a frying pan with a diameter of 26 cm.
Preparation 15 minutes
Cook 40 minutes
350 grams of spaghetti
5 tbsp olive oil
1 large brown onionpeeled and finely chopped
1 large fennel bulbfinely sliced
2 romano peppers (300 g; or regular red bell pepper), stem, pith and seeds removed and discarded, flesh cut into 4 cm chunks
1¾ tsp fine sea salt
6 cloves of garlicpeeled and finely chopped
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 small glass of dry white wine (125ml)
1 x 280g jar of artichokes in oildrained
20 kalamata olivespitted and halved
10 g fresh dillfinely sliced
1 lemoncut into wedges, to serve
Break the pasta into 3cm pieces over a large bowl and set aside.
Place the oil in a wide non-stick frying pan over medium heat and, once hot, add the onion, fennel, paprika and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for another five minutes, then mix in the paprika and tomato paste and cook for five minutes, stirring frequently as it will stick (those sticky bits are very tasty). Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any sticky bits and incorporate them into the mix.
Stir in the spaghetti until all the strands are covered with the sauce and arrange the artichokes and olives on top in a pleasant, decorative way. Pour over 700 ml of water, shake the pan to allow the water to settle and bring to a boil, which should take two to three minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked through and the moisture from the bottom of the pan has evaporated (the spaghetti should rise vertically when done, but if not, eat a few strands to check). To check if the water has evaporated, stick the handle of a wooden spoon to the bottom of the mix to see.
Serve the fideuà straight from the pan, sprinkled with chopped dill and four lemon wedges on the north, east, south and west points of the pan.