This dish was inspired by a wonderful pasta I had at Ask for Luigi a few weeks ago. It had the most delicious combination of kale and oyster mushrooms and was so simple that I had to try to recreate it at home. In fact, the whole meal was so delicious that I patted myself on the back for giving the place a second chance.
Everything from the meatballs to the zucchini stuffed peppers was on point that all my past hang ups about their underwhelming food and snooty service melted away. In fact, it had been years of me turning my nose in the air at all the hype and buzz that’s never left them since opening. I’m happy that’s all behind me now.
As with all good things, there’s a catch. Ask For Luigi doesn’t take reservations. Normally that would be enough to turn me off but I found out that if you get there about 20 minutes to half an hour before they open, you will get a table in their first seating. Trust me, their delicious plates of fresh homemade pasta are worth it and dining in that tiny house makes you feel like you’re at a Nona’s home enjoying her delicious, home cooked meals.
What a perfect combination with the saltiness from the anchovies and the crunch of the breadcrumbs in this dish. Anchovies dissolved in oil or butter is liquid gold. In addition to making great pasta sauces, you can also use it with meat and fish like the Garlicky Chicken with Lemon-Anchovy Sauce and Caesar-Roasted Fish. I like to think of anchovies as the bacon of the sea. It just makes everything taste better, don’t you agree?
Ask for Luigi
305 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1C4
11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30 – 11pm Fri and Sat
11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30 – 9:30pm Sun
11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30 – 10:30pm Tues – Thurs, closed on Mon
Kale and Oyster Mushroom Pappardelle
What you need:
6 T olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced finely
8 anchovy fillets
a large bunch of kale, stems removed
3 cups oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped into bite size pieces
3/4 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
Pappardelle or any pasta of your choice
juice of half a lemon
What to do:
1. Boil pasta in well salted and oiled water until al dente. Drain and reserve pasta water.
2. Toast bread crumbs in some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, until crunchy and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt and let cool on a paper towel-lined plate.
3. Heat up olive oil over medium heat and cook garlic.
4. Add chilli flakes.
5. Add the anchovy fillets and mash it up in the pan so that they dissolve into the oil and garlic mixture.
6. Once the anchovy has dissolved into the oil, add the mushroom and the kale. Stir to combine and cook for a few minutes until the kale has softened.
7. Add cooked pasta, generous grating of fresh Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper, and a cup of the pasta water to loosen everything up and combine it together. Keep adding more cheese and pasta water to make a creamier sauce as needed.
8. Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs on top, mix well to combine.
9. Serve and enjoy.