This dish tastes like it came directly from the Mediterranean. Literally. Yes, anchovies are harvested in the Mediterranean (and North Atlantic). I love anchovies, and I must say they are quite subtle in this dish, but my German boyfriend was confused by that unidentifiable sea-like flavor. I didn’t tell him beforehand. Yes, good strategy. I think some people have a mental adversity to anchovies… In the midst of this confusion he wasn’t quite sure whether he disliked the taste or not. I asked him if it was perhaps the tarragon that was leaving him so puzzled and undecided, thinking that not everyone likes it’s distinct anise-like flavor. Nope. Definitely the salty sea flavor….he did also mention the word fish. Which I was then told, surely many other people would love. I do.
Tarragon is an aromatic herb that is often used in French cuisine. The anise-like flavor of tarragon complements fish, I think. And so I threw some in. It can easily be substituted with more parsley if it’s just not happening for you. Go ahead…I’ll never know.
Spaghetti with Anchovies (Spaghetti con Acciughe)
- 500 g spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid (120 ml)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 anchovy filets (packed in oil), drained and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 lb aromatic vine-ripened tomatoes (such as mini plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes) (about 1 kg)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
Fill the large pot with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat and add pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook according to packet instructions, until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook anchovies and garlic until soft, about 4 minutes.
Add the chili and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and saute for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are falling apart.
Toss in pasta and add the cooking liquid, cook for 1 more minute, toss in the herbs and serve.
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