Friday, September 21, 2012

Pasta With Anchovy Sauce

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! ;)


  1. Hi Ju,
    This remind me of my craved for salted fish fried rice when I was living in Morocco and that was how I discovered anchovy in tins. From then on, anchovy in rice, pasta and even pizza :) thanks for sharing

  2. Ok!..Now I am just going to settle for Bread and Milo! Hungry !

  3. this is one delicious dish *drool*

  4. Jacques would love this Ju..
    I need to hide them..they have to get lost in the sauce..I have a pasta dish gleaned on the web that we love..but the 2 anchovies.. are melted into the oil :)No one ever knows anchovies are in it..But Jacques..tops his pizzas etc w/ these treasure of his..
    So ..since your DD could not see them..I could go for this:)x

  5. Yummy! What a lovely looking dish! I have never used anchovy sauce!

  6. Hi,

    I noticed cloves in (step) "4. Stir in the butter and the cloves", but there are no cloves in your ingredient list. Which part has the typo? Thanks.

    1. Hi Amanda, thanks for pointing this out. It is a typo! It should be sundried tomatoes. I must have been either very hungry or sleepy when I blogged. Or both! ;)

  7. Glad you (and your daughter) liked this! :) And sooo easy as well - and keeps well for packed lunch the next day. Win win situation.

    Hopefully I'll be able to visit Singapore soon.. need more annual leave! xx

  8. Ju, I have a tin of anchovies sitting in my larder for I know what I can do with them. Your pasta looks absolutely yum, yum... :-)

  9. This is perfect! I am an anchovy fan and have a few bottles of the good stuff in my pantry.

  10. awwww im so hungry now!!! i love love anchovies.

  11. hi,,may i know where to get this
    anchovies,,kindli share,,
    thanks -u r a great cook n baker...

    1. Awww, thank you! I got mine at Cold Storage. :)

  12. Wow this looks really yummy! Where can we get a can of the anchovies??


  13. Generally I won't touch anything with anchovies because my other half doesn't eat fish. But this pasta looks good! I can picture the umaminess!

  14. thank you for sharing this super-licious recipe! my nephews loved it! finally found use for my anchovies and sundried tomatoes that's been sitting in the cupboard for months! (^^) i enjoy your posts n pics very much ^^ thank you.

  15. I'm eating my plate of anchovy pasta as I type this comment. I don't have tin anchovies nor sundried tomatoes so I omitted the tomatoes n use fresh anchovies. I pound my anchovies till it is paste like. N the result is pretty good! If I have a chance to come across tin anchovies n sun dried tomatoes, will try the original recipe. Nevertheless, thank you for sharing this recipe. I can whip this up in less than half hour. Happy!

  16. Hi Ju, I am glad I found you while googling for Sambal chili recipe, being a Singaporean (and like you, Teochew, 3rd generation Singaporean) and living in the United States for the past ten years, once in a while I crave badly for food I grew up with. Anyway, I am not a good cook nor great baker, my husband and I eat out a lot, blame it to the 2 great cities we live in, NYC and Las Vegas, tons of great food around us, I really don't have to cook at all, but still, when I crave for nasi lemak I will have to find good sambal to go with right, thanks for the wonderful blog you've created, I haven't try any yet, but would definitely love to follow your blog and read about your journal in the kitchen.

  17. ¡Qué bella propuesta me encanta !adoro tu cocina, abrazos y abrazos