Spaghetti with Anchovies

Posted By Kerri

Due to a shopping mixup a couple of weeks ago, we are now overrun with pasta. Not a bad position to be in if you love pasta (which I do) but not so great if only one of you is eating it (Stephen is currently experimenting with a wheat-free diet). Stephen still wasn’t feeling very well tonight though so, since it was only me eating, it was the perfect opportunity to free up some cupboard space and start working my way through the pasta mountain.

I saw this recipe in Diana Henry’s “Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons” a couple of weeks ago and put it on the menu for that week but, as happens often, it got bumped in favour of something else. It’s not been too far from my thoughts though and was perfect for tonight since I didn’t have time to do any shopping on the way home and I knew I had all the ingredients for this already.

It was quick and easy, save for a mishap with the hob which resulted in the kitchen becoming covered in fishy oil leading to an intensive cleanup operation afterwards. Not quite part of the plan for a speedy dinner but not the fault of the recipe.

The end dish wasn’t really what I was expecting although it’s hard to remember now what I had in mind when I thought about the flavours. The characteristic strong, fishy flavour that anchovies are known for had cooked out even with the relatively short cooking time, possibly due to the pre-soaking in milk, and what was left was much more delicate but still identifiable as anchovy. The classic combination of garlic and chilli complimented the saltiness of the fish and created a deep, round flavour but there wasn’t much in the way of sauce and the breadcrumbs dried the whole thing out very quickly. I’d skip those next time, even though the crunch was pleasing to begin with.

Spaghetti with Anchovies
Serves Two (although I only made one portion, I’ve scaled it up here)

8 anchovies
1 garlic clove
1/2 chopped chilli
Handful chopped parsley
Fried breadcrumbs

Start by soaking the anchovies in a little milk for 15 minutes.

In a frying pan, gently heat some olive oil, add the garlic and leave it until it has browned. Remove and discard the garlic but retain the oil (although I think a little crushed garlic, left in the pan would be good).

Add the chilli and anchovies and cook until the chillies just start to brown. I added a little water at this point to loosen everything.

Add the chopped parsley, stir into the pasta and top with the fried breadcrumbs (or leave them out).

May 18th, 2010

2 Comments to 'Spaghetti with Anchovies'

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  1. Helen said,

    For me that would need far far more anchovy. And I would put capers in, but I do like the idea of the breadcrumbs.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Blogger Secret Ingredient – Week 80 – Capers =-.

  2. Kerri said,

    The amount of anchovy seemed about right to me but it probably could have taken more. I think you’d need something sweet to soften the whole thing if you added capers too, otherwise it could be a bit sharp and bitter – rather like adding tomatoes and basil and making puttanesca I suppose.

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