God Bless the Italians – Pasta with Anchovies and Butter

My all time favourite quick and easy meal is freshly cooked pasta with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped garlic, chopped chilli and rocket leaves stirred into it over a gentle heat. As soon as I can smell the garlic cooking and the rocket has wilted, I take it off the heat and stir in a load of grated cheddar (or Parmesan if I’m feeling flush) and tuck in. 

It’s gorgeous – garlic, chilli and cheese are an amazing combination anyway – so this just can’t fail. However, I’m guessing it’s not very authentic… I don’t think the Italians eat cheddar.

Having said all this, I reckon they might like the simplicity of my dish. Minimal ingredients, minimal fuss but big flavours – these same themes run through a lot of traditional Italian pasta dishes – cacio e pepe immediately springs to mind.

Anyhoo, it seems that I now have another quick and easy pasta dish to add to my list; thanks to Elizabeth Minchilli who tweeted a link to the latest recipe on her blog this morning. Said recipe was for pasta with anchovies and butter. Yep, that’s right. Pasta with anchovies and butter. Nowt else. Nada. (well a bit of pepper – I personally would skip the salt – there’s enough in the anchovies and the butter).

What’s more this is an authentic Roman recipe… albeit an on trend recipe. Aye, you heard right. This is on trend in Roma. So… whilst we’re stuffing our faces with our trendy hot dogs, burgers, ribs and other stuff served in baskets, the Romans are enjoying simple ingredients, prepared with thought and combined to make the most stunning of dishes… Sigh…

The recipe is stupidly easy to follow. Just follow Elizabeth’s easy steps and PLEASE make sure you do follow the Italians and add some of the pasta water to the dish – you’ll be amazed at how quickly it thickens up the sauce.

Having said that, I didn’t quite follow Elizabeth’s tips in terms of the quality of the ingredients used. I grabbed the first (and cheapest) tin of anchovies that I could find and I used Tesco Value dried penne pasta (I’ve got a house to buy dammit)… but I did manage to use some English, Red Tractor, butter.

And the end result? Bloody gorgeous. Seriously. Go cook it. Now.


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