Anchovy Pasta sauce

This is a tasty twist on an old classic, pasta served tossed with an anchovy sauce.  The difference is that it is partially cooked the pasta and then finish cooking it in the sauce over high heat, making a very rich and intense dish.  Don’t worry about the amount of pasta water you’re adding to the sauce. It will reduce as it cooks and helps bind the sauce.


            ¼ cup olive oil

            1 (2 ounce) can anchovies packed in olive oil, undrained

            1 to 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

            ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

            2 tablespoons tomato paste

            ½ cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons drained capers in brine (or capers in salt, rinsed and drained)

½ heaping cup chopped Italian parsley

1 pound linguine

Zest of 1 lemon, grated 

Salt (for cooking linguine)


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep, heavy skillet large enough to hold the cooked pasta (about 12 inches in diameter). Add the anchovies, garlic, and red pepper and sauté gently, stirring often, until the garlic turns golden.  Immediately dissolve the tomato paste in the wine and stir into the mixture.  Stir in the capers and about 1/3 cup of the parsley, reserving the rest.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce, uncovered, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 5- quarts water to a boil in a large (6- to 8-quart) saucepan.  Add the lemon zest while it heats.  When the water boils, add the salt, drop in the linguini and cook just until it has wilted, about 1 minute. It will still be close to raw.  Add 3 to 4 ladleful of the linguine cooking water to the anchovy sauce. Drain the linguine in a colander and add it to the sauce in the skillet, toss or stir with two wooden spoons or a pasta fork to distribute the contents, turn up the heat to high and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, uncovered, for about 8 minutes.  The liquid will reduce and the pasta will be al dente.  To serve, turn into four large heated bowls and sprinkle with the reserved chopped parsley. Serves 4.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.