I was on Twitter late one night when I saw Su-yin's photo about a dish she made. I was already feeling peckish, and her plate of pasta coated in anchovy sauce only made it worse. I think I sadly settled for some bread and Milo that night. While they served their purpose of quelling my hunger, they did nothing to satisfy my craving.
So I made a mental bookmark on that dish, and cooked it at the first chance. I don't know about you, but anchovy sauce is such a winner in my book. It delivers so much dimension to a dish, a punch of umami in every mouthful. Absolutely yummy!
Aside, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Su-yin last December when I was in London. She is as lovely in person as she is online, and we had a great time chatting over lunch at Kopapa Cafe. I also tasted the most fantastic walnut paste udon (ever!) at Koya, thanks to her recommendation. :)
It's amazing how blogs bring people together, isn't it? I always get that surreal feeling whenever I meet with fellow bloggers in person. For one, without our blogs, we would be total strangers; and when we do meet, we already know so much of one another!
(from Bread et Butter, with some minor tweaks from me ... and you should also do the same to suit your own preferences!)
- 1 large white onion
- 3-5 cloves garlic (depending on how much you like garlic)
- 30g anchovies (actual weight), chopped finely
- 2-3 sundried tomatoes, sliced into medium strips
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
- pepper, to taste
- 300g broad pasta, like fettuccine, bucatini, linguine, etc (or heck, just use spaghetti, if that's what you have)
- chopped parsley to serve (optional)
- freshly grated parmesan
The great thing about this dish - no need to add salt!
1. Finely chop the onions and garlic. You can use a mini food processor for a smoother ‘paste’, but that is optional.
2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over low heat. Add the onions, garlic and anchovies and cook until it becomes fragrant (should take 8-10 minutes).
3. Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and let the mixture cook for another minute. Taste. If the mixture seems a little salty, add the extra teaspoon of brown sugar.
4. Stir in the butter and the sundried tomatoes, followed by the water. Let it simmer gently for a minute or so, and take off the heat.
5. Whilst the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water, until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta cooking liquid (1 cup should be enough).
6. Mix the cooked pasta with the anchovy sauce, and add the pasta cooking liquid (as needed) to lubricate the pasta.
7. Serve the pasta into a plate, sprinkle with chopped parsley or toasted breadcrumbs (optional).
The beauty of pasta dishes is that they are so versatile. My daughter doesn't like onions, so I omitted them when I cooked her portion. I threw in shredded smoked ham, and she gave the dish two thumbs up. The funny part was when she licked the platter clean, then asked, "You said it was anchovy pasta but I didn't see any anchovies!"
Well, they were all in the sauce, my dear! ;)