So, this recipe was in the New York Times today. It’s a version of my favorite pasta sauce. (It’s also a super quick meal - start the pasta and sauce simultaneously, they’re done simultaneously.) Mine uses tomato paste, but regardless, they totally miss a couple of key points here: most particularly, you do NOT just throw everything in the pan like that. *le sigh*
Now here’s the real way to make it, (and you’ll see why as I describe it):
1. Boil salted water for pasta and when it boils, throw in 1 package spaghetti. At the same time, start heating about 2 t. olive oil at medium-low heat in a large skillet .
2. Mince 2-4 cloves garlic (to taste), saute it for a minute or two, until it’s just starting to turn golden.
3. Push the garlic off to the side of the pan (away from the heat) and add 2 cans anchovies (drained, reserve oil) to a separate area of the pan, and 1-2 T red pepper (to taste) to another area of the pan.
Basically, you should have your pan divided into thirds, one ingredient in each area, with the garlic furthest away from the heat so it doesn’t burn. Push the oil away from the pepper; you’re trying to toast it. The anchovies should be near the heat too. Now this is the cool part: the anchovies will melt. Yep, into a flaky sort of paste. You might have to squash them a bit with your spatula, but they’ll melt.
4. Once the anchovies show signs of melting, mix everything up and push it to the side. Add 1-2 T capers (to taste) in the middle of the pan and let them dry out for a minute.
5. Stir in 1 can tomato paste and, if desired, some of the reserved anchovy oil. Your pasta should be done - add a ladle or so of the starchy pasta water to the sauce to get it to whatever consistency you want (keep it pretty thick, though).
6. Toss the sauce and the pasta. Smile.