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.
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!