10 minute pasta (anchovy, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil and pasta water emulsion)

This sauce takes the same amount of time as cooking the pasta, so, excluding boiling the water, around 10 minutes. It is one of my favourite pasta dishes: intense and addictive and somewhat magical given the low volume of actual sauce. We ate it during the England-Denmark match in the Euros and cleaned the frying pan and our plates with bread to extract every trace of flavour. We had small portions of pasta (70g p/p) and followed with this delicious aubergine and tomato dish to a recipe by Rachel Roddy, with the small change of using thyme instead of oregano.


6ish anchovies

2 large cloves of garlic (or more smaller ones) finely chopped/crushed

1 heaped tablespoon of tomato paste

1 large pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

4-6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

70g pasta per person as a starter, 90-100g pasta as a main with a salad/bread.

How to make:

Put on a large pan of water to boil, and when boiling, add a heaped teaspoon of salt to the pan. Then, put on your pasta of choice. This sauce most suits a non-egg pasta e.g. spaghetti, penne. On this occasion I had small shells at home so used them.  

Add the olive oil to a frying pan that can fit all the pasta in once cooked. Turn the heat on low-medium and add the garlic and anchovies. Cook for a minute or two and break up the anchovies with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato paste and chilli flakes and stir round in the oil and cook until the oil is red, around a minute or two more, keeping the heat low so the garlic etc does not burn.

Take a cupful of pasta water and set aside, and drain the pasta when it is cooked but a little al dente. Add the cooked pasta to the frying pan and toss it, with the aid of a large spoon if that’s helpful. In between tosses, add a few tablespoons of pasta water at a time, and then keep tossing. The water will emulsify with the oil. Keep adding a little of the pasta water and tossing this until you feel happy that the pasta is coated with gleaming red, intensely flavoured emulsion. Check for seasoning and add a little more salt if desired. Serve with bread for pan and plate-cleaning!


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