I had the taste for anchovies the other day and remembered an episode of Lidia's Italy where she cooked them in a bit of olive oil to start an easy sauce. Luckily I had taken notes during the show and was able to dig them out by some miracle to make some dinner magic. Lidia Bastianich is one of my idols, I love her cooking style and her recipes are always stellar.
This sauce cooks up in the same amount of time as the pasta. And if you think you don't like anchovies think again. They are cooked down to nothing, you will never know they're in the sauce, except for the amazing flavor.
If you have capers, anchovies, garlic, tomatoes and pasta in your cabinet you are ready to go. I also add a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes and some fresh torn basil at the end. Canned diced tomatoes work best in the winter/fall, fresh tomatoes are best when in season.
The only prep work is cutting up 3-4 anchovies and 3 cloves of garlic. Get the pasta going and start your sauce.
Pasta with Anchovies, Capers and Tomatoes (adapted from Lidia Bastianich)
Angel Hair pasta
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup capers
1 large tomato or several smaller romas (or canned diced tomatoes)
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt to taste
Finely chop anchovies and garlic and dice the tomato. Cook your pasta according to the box instructions. Saute anchovies in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, over low-medium heat until they are cooked down into a paste. Add garlic and saute - keep an eye on it - burned garlic ruins sauce. Add chopped tomatoes, capers and pinch of red pepper flakes and let simmer on low while you deal with the pasta.
Before draining the pasta, reserve 1-2 cups of pasta water. Drain pasta and add the noodles directly to the sauce pan. Add as much reserved pasta water as needed to bring the sauce together. I don't add much, maybe one small ladle. Add torn basil leaves and a pinch of salt to taste. Voila, dinner is served.
Printable recipe card: Pasta with Anchovies, Capers and Tomatoes