• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 6 Servings

Vermicelli Alla Sangiovannello (Midsummer Eve's Pasta)

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Italian

 Ingredients List

  • 3 Salted anchovies or 6
  • -oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 Garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/3 c Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb Fresh red ripe tomatoes,
  • -peeled and chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • -to taste
  • 1/2 sm Dried hot red chile pepper
  • -or 1/4, OR
  • 1/4 ts Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tb Capers
  • 1/3 Pitted and chopped black or
  • -green olives
  • 2/3 c Finely chopped flat-leaf
  • -parsley leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lb Spaghetti, vermicelli, or
  • -penne


If you are using salted anchovies, rinse them thoroughly under running
water and strip away their bones. Then chop them coarsely. (If you are
using oil-packed anchovy fillets, simply chop them.)

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, gently sweat the garlic in the
oil. When the garlic is soft, add the anchovies and cook, stirring with a
fork and pressing the anchovies to dissolve them in the oil.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook just long enough to soften them and
release their juices. Add black pepper and, if you wish, the pepper flakes,
and cook a few minutes more to blend the flavors. Stir in any of or all of
the other possible ingredients capers, olives, and parsley, reserving a
little parsley for a garnish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Drop in the
pasta and cook until almost done about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and
turn it into the pan with the sauce. Stir to mix well and let the pasta
finish cooking in the sauce, another 2 minutes. Turn into a heated serving
bowl, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.

In years past, on the night of June 24, the Feast of St. John or San
Giovanni, true Baresi celebrated midsummer's eve by taking their tables
outside and dining in the streets or on overhanging balconies from which
they could call to each other and carry on conversations and flirtations.
"True" Baresi are denizens of the old town, living in the crowded warren of
narrow streets and alleys and overarching white-washed walls that still
curls like a North African medina around the harbor's edge beside the
beautiful twelfth-century church of the city's protector, St. Nicholas of
Nyra, now of Bari. (Even among themselves, the Baresi have a reputation for
thievery so it's not at all surprising that they seem to have entered
Christian history in the year 1087, when a group of Barese businessmen of
the time stole into the Greek city of Myra on Turkey's Agean coast and made
off with the relics of the local saint, Nicholas, whom they later set up as
the patron of Bari. And, yes, he was the original Santa Claus.)

On this, the longest (or almost) night of the year, the traditional dish
served is vermicelli, spaghetti, or penne with a simple sauce of oil,
garlic, anchovies, and tomatoes. Some add capers, some hot chile peppers
and parsley, some olives, either black or green, but the basic idea is a
quick, fresh, simple dish that celebrates the flavors of summer.

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