Aglio e Olio with Celery Tops, Fennel & Pine Nuts
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Aglio e Olio with Celery Tops, Fennel & Pine Nuts

"Garlic-and-oil pasta has a key ingredient, and it's not the garlic or the oil—it's anchovies. Melting them into the oil develops their flavor, which is closer to toasted salty nuts than fish." —Rach


  • ½ cup pine nuts

  • ⅓ cup olive oil

  • 10 to 12 anchovy filets

  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp. Calabrian chile paste, 1 tbsp. finely chopped dried pepperoncini (red chili peppers), or 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

  • 1 scant tsp. (about 1/3 palmful) fennel pollen or fennel seeds

  • ½ cup dry (white) vermouth

  • Salt

  • 1 lb. spaghetti or linguini

  • 1 cup (packed) mixed fresh flat-leaf parsley and celery leaves, finely chopped

  • Lemon wedges, for garnish


  • Step 1

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

  • Step 2

    In small skillet or on a small tray in the toaster oven, toast the pine nuts, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

  • Step 3

    In a large deep skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the anchovies and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until they melt into the oil, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, chile paste, and fennel pollen. Cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vermouth and reduce heat to low. Let the sauce simmer gently while the pasta cooks.

  • Step 4

    Salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

  • Step 5

    Using tongs, toss the pasta in the sauce, adding cooking water as needed to coat the pasta with the sauce, about 2 minutes. Mix in the parsley and celery leaves. Serve in shallow bowls topped with the pine nuts. Garnish with the lemon wedges.

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