Weeks before Christmas, harbingers of the feast begin to appear in Neapolitan food shops with the arrival of the annual harvest of walnuts from the Sorrento peninsula—incomparably fresh, plump, flavorful nuts that are renowned throughout Italy. Despite its rich flavors, u spaghett' antalina, a meatless pasta for Christmas Eve, is poor-folk food, a dish for those too poor to have more than a few anchovies in the festive sauce. The importance of using extremely fresh nuts in this dish cannot be overstressed.Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips
To prepare salted anchovies, rinse them under running water. Strip the fillets away from the bones; discard the bones and tails. don't worry about getting every tiny bone out of the fillets—most will dissolve in the sauce anyway.
Garlic, anchovies and walnuts need a fragrant regional white to bridge their flavors. Try a Fiano di Avellino from Mastroberardino or Feudi di San Gregorio.