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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