Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spaghetti with Anchovy Carbonara

I know the thought of anchovy pasta doesn't thrill all of you.
That's okay... it was pretty exciting to me.
I was thrilled to see this recipe in Food & Wine (April 2011) and couldn't wait to give it a try.

Well, it took me a while, but recently when the lights were out after a big wind storm and the only thing working in the house was the gas range, I had the perfect dinner to make (and eat...) by candlelight.  There is something very umami and special about the anchovies in this pasta that is not overwhelmingly salty or fishy.  Perfect for a simple dinner with some good wine, like a nice crisp sauvignon blanc white wine.

One trick that this recipe uses is adding some of the pasta cooking liquid to help with the sauce.  If you've never tried, you really need to!  It works so well, here's the recipe that I like that I first tried this technique, Cacio de pepe.

Note- It's hard to tell the lights are out, because we'd just changed our clocks for day light savings time...  these were taken about 5:30pm with lots of new Spring light coming in the kitchen window.  I am SO looking forward to the longer, sunnier days ahead...

Serves 4

12 ounces spaghetti
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
One 2-ounce can flat anchovies, drained and chopped
Pinch of Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp chopped oregano
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil with the garlic and anchovies and cook over moderately high heat until the anchovies have dissolved, about 2 minutes. 

Add the red pepper, zest, oregano and parsley, then add the pasta and toss to coat. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, whisk the yolks with the 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water and add to the pasta. Cook over low heat, tossing until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve. 

NOTE- Add a bit more of the reserved pasta water if the pasta seems too dry.

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