Spaghetti con Acciuga
Region: Italy, Campania
Category: Pasta with Fish
Difficulty: Easy and Quick
The anchovy in this recipe is used as a condiment, literally disappearing into the tomato sauce as it melts. While it is essential, its noticeable flavor is balanced by the basil to merely season the spaghetti in a delicate way. Because anchovy plays such an important role in this dish you should use top quality salted anchovies and not oil-packed anchovies. They are usually available in Italian markets and gourmet food stores.
Yield: Makes 2 to 4 servings
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup fresh or canned tomato purée
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (about 20), loosely packed
1. For every pound of pasta, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat, salt abundantly with up to 1/2 cup of salt, then add the pasta in handfuls. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick together, until al dente. Drain without rinsing.
2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the tomato purée over medium heat with the olive oil, then stir in the anchovies and basil and cook until the anchovies have melted into the sauce, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl or platter and toss with the sauce and serve without cheese.
Variation: Variation 1: replace the basil with 3 tablespoons chopped parsley and the tomato puree with 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes; increase the olive oil by 2 tablespoons.
Variation 2: replace the basil with 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 1 tablespoon dried oregano; add 4 finely chopped garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes