Not Just Another Pasta Dish

Pasta with Anchovy Sauce

Don’t even think of the horrible hairy nondescript things they put on pizza (that my cat won’t even touch). Anchovies are wonderful and full of amazing flavour when melted into a great sauce and used in pasta.

My daughter who swears she would rather die than eat anchovies, went back for seconds and then took the left overs to school the next day for lunch.

This is a Nigella Lawson recipe but I used different pasta only because I used what I had in the pantry. It is important to use a thicker pasta so the ‘sauce’ coats everything. This is not really a sauce but a coating that is just amazing. I also topped this with Tallegio Cheese only because I had some and just love it but the recipe doesn’t call for it.

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 12 anchovy fillets or 1 x 60g can (total weight) in olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • Tiniest pinch ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 125ml full-fat milk
  • 500g packet bigoli, bucatini, perciatelli or linguine or other long, robust pasta
  • 1 big bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Finely chop the onions and garlic. To be honest, I’d do this in the processor every time. It’s not just that it’s easier, but that it makes the onion meld into the sauce so well later.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and cook the very finely chopped onion and garlic over a low heat until you have a soft, golden mush – about 10 minutes. Add the brown sugar (though white is fine too), stir it in and let the onion mixture cook for another minute or so.
  3. Remove the anchovies from the tin, and chop them very finely.  Add them to the onion mush, stirring until they begin to “melt”, then stir in the butter and the pinch of ground cloves, followed by a tablespoonful of water and when all is combined, gradually stir in the milk. When this has come together as a puree, take the pan off the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in abundant salted water according to the packet instructions, removing a ladleful of cooking liquid just before you drain it.
  5. Tip the drained pasta into the anchovy and onion sauce and add the reserved cooking water to help lubricate the pasta. You may not need all of the water, so pour in gradually. Add some oil from the anchovy tin if you need it too. And, of course, if the pan isn’t big enough to take all the pasta, just put it back into the pan it was cooked in and pour the sauce over the top.
  6. Sprinkle over most of the parsley, just roughly chopped, thoroughly turning the pasta in the pan to coat each strand in the anchovy sauce. Remove to a warm bowl, sprinkle over the remaining parsley and take to the table.
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