You’ve been with us long enough to know that the one thing we never kid around about is our food. We are drop dead, deadly serious when it comes to yummy and healthful eating (which to our palate is one and the same). So we thought we’d share our penny-pinching dinner from last night. It is now on the menu in our fantasy restaurant. (Yes, whenever we prepare an epic dish we say it will go on the menu in our restaurant.  A place open only when we feel like cooking and where we serve whatever suits our fancy that day. Hence, it is our fantasy restaurant.)

We arrived home late after having been out of town for some time.  Too tired to go out.  Too cheap to order in. Besides we were hungry for something delicious, and take-out does not equal delicious.

Outside of a new bottle of Les Domaniers de Puit Mouret, Rose, from Costco, which we were dying to try (and loved) the refrigerator was empty, empty, empty.

We found in the pantry: garlic cloves, a can of top quality anchovies, Setaro brand bucatini pasta, excellent extra virgin olive oil, raisins, a jar of home made whole wheat bread crumbs, hot pepper flakes.   In our garden we had copious amounts of flat leaf parsley and spearmint.

We set to work.

We put on a big pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. We roughly chopped three large garlic cloves and set them to slowly cook in ¼ cup of olive oil on a very low flame for ten minutes (they should be translucent, maybe slightly golden, but never browned).

Then we took five anchovy filets and finely chopped them and added them to the garlic, stirring until they completely melted into the sauce. We added a handful of golden raisins and cooked for ten more minutes on low heat.

We chopped up two cups of parsley* and several sprigs of mint, most of which we added to the anchovy, raisin and garlic sauce. Again, we simmered this for 15 more minutes.

To the boiling water we added a fistful of bucatini. When the pasta was almost done we took a ladle full of pasta water and added this to the anchovy/parsley/raisin sauce. Before the pasta finished cooking we added it to the saucepan. We turned the heat up to high and cooked the pasta al-dente (keep tasting-never overcook).  Be mindful, as you might need to add more pasta water to keep it moist and a little saucy. Once done, we seasoned it with salt and freshly ground pepper.

We put the steaming hot pasta into two heated bowls, drizzled a little olive oil,  sprinkled loads of hot pepper flakes (we love spicy), fresh parsley, mint and a generous handful of whole wheat bread crumbs.

It was divine.

*You could also use endive, escarole, radicchio, even zucchini at the stage where you add the parsley for a twist on this basic sauce. Eliminate the raisins; add pine nuts; add more or less anchovy or garlic.  Create tastes that suit you.