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Spaghettini with smoked eel, garlic, chilli and pangrattato

You'll need

400 gm dried spaghettini (see note) 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 long red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced widthways 200 gm smoked eel, skin removed, flesh broken into large pieces (see note) To serve: finely chopped chives   Pangrattato 100 ml olive oil 3 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 100 gm panko breadcrumbs (see note)


  • 01
  • For pangrattato, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add anchovy and garlic, stir for a few seconds, then add breadcrumbs and stir frequently over medium heat until breadcrumbs are golden (4-5 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper and cool to room temperature.
  • 02
  • Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente (5-7 minutes), drain, reserving 125ml cooking water, and return to pan to keep warm.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, heat extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until just hot, add garlic and chilli and stir occasionally until tender but not coloured (2-3 minutes). Add eel, toss until warmed through (1-2 minutes), then add half the pangrattato and toss to combine. Season to taste, then toss through pasta, adding some reserved cooking water if necessary to moisten, and serve immediately scattered with remaining pangrattato and chives.
Note Nicky Riemer uses the Rustichella brand of pasta available from Enoteca Sileno and select Italian delicatessens. Smoked eel is available from select fishmongers. Panko breadcrumbs are available from Japanese grocers. If unavailable, substitute dried breadcrumbs.

“I have a profound love of smoked eel, particularly from the Yarra Valley – the succulent smoky flesh goes perfectly with spaghettini finished with pangrattato (mine’s a pan-fried mix of Japanese white breadcrumbs with anchovy and garlic). I first experienced the joy of crunchy pangrattato with spaghettini and sardines in Syracusa in Sicily and built on this idea to refine this dish.”

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Good Italian lager such as Peroni Gran Riserva Doppio Malto.

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