There is something so incredibly satisfying about sinking a fork into a mound of saucy pasta, twisting it to coil thick strands of spaghetti into a messy mouthful. When I have an itch for spaghetti, it’s not the taste that I am after per se, but the ritual of eating it.
This recipe was born after my boyfriend and I decided we wanted “some sort of saucy tomato pasta” for dinner. I thought about using meat, but I felt that it might interfere with the sauciness.
There are a lot of flavours in this recipe, but they work well together. There is a bite of heat to it provided by the fresh red chilli, along with a hint of white wine, and a good amount of fresh, pungent herbs. Every now and then you get a juicy burst of salt, courtesy of the capers. I only recently discovered capers, and my life has changed for the better. Now, the anchovies. If you’re happy to use them, disregard this, but if you’re a hater, consider this: when used in small amounts, anchovies provide depth and base to the flavour without overriding the dish with fishiness. Take a risk and give them a go, I promise the final product won’t taste fishy (if it did my boyfriend would have refused to eat it, and he ended up lying on the floor digesting).
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Tomato Pasta with Bacon, Capers and Sundried Tomatoes
300g dried spaghetti
1 ½ anchovies
3 shallots (about 60g), sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4-5 rashers of streaky bacon (3 rashers if using middle bacon), chopped into thin chunks
¼ – 1 hot red chilli (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons whole capers
4-5 sundried tomatoes, diced
x2 cans chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- Put a large pot of water with about 2 teaspoons of salt on the stove to boil. Once at a rolling boil, throw in the pasta and cook while making the sauce – Link to how to cook pasta
- Using a fork, break apart the anchovies, as shown in the photos above. Breaking them apart with a fork is much easier than chopping, as they stick to the knife
- Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over a medium-high heat in a heavy pan, and add the anchovies, shallots, garlic, and bacon.
- Fry, stirring, until the bacon and shallots begin to turn golden. At this stage, add the chilli (if using), capers, and sundried tomatoes, and fry for a further 2 minutes.
- Open the can of chopped tomatoes and add to the pan, along with the sugar, salt, and wine. Simmer for another few minutes until some of the wine and juice from the tomatoes have evaporated, but still leaving enough liquid for a good sauce. See pictures above for an example
- Remove pan from the heat and stir in basil and parsley, then adding salt and pepper to taste if needed.
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