Anchovies! In Pasta! Yay!
I know that I read about different methods of using anchovies as a base for pasta sauces, but for the life of me, I couldn't find those posts here, just that secret ingredients one. But that didn't have any specific recipes. Maybe it wasn't chowhound that I read it on. Anyways, I'm planning a delicious pasta night for some friends, with a white sauce and a red sauce. I'm looking for any recommendations of very simple tomato sauces that are made with anchovies. The kinds of sauces that are your tried and trues.
Also, when it comes to home cooking, are anchovies packed in olive oil suitable? I feel like I remember someone saying the ones packed in salt were better....
And in return for your help, here's my typical white sauce: parm, olive oil, creme fraiche, lemon zest, mixed up in hot pot with drained pasta. Throw in capers and parsley, eat a ton and take a nap.
The good ol' Joy of Cooking has a great recipe for Marinara Sauce that uses a couple of chopped anchovies packed in oil. (Hint: the reason it's called "marinara" is because it's from the sea, not because of the tomato product.- think "marine"..) I was so pissed when I saw a recent America's (Nazi) Test Kittchen TM and they made an authentic "marinara" sauce that had no anchos in sight. Mind you, my copy of J o' C is at least 20 yrs. old, so I don't know if the recipe's in the "improved" edition. (I miss my squirrel and possum recipes...) Adam
The first thing I thought of when you said red sauce with anchovies is a classic puttanesca. I haven't made it recently, so don't have a recipe to recommend, but it's pretty straightforward if you google puttanesca - it's a traditional red sauce made with anchovies, capers, and olives.
Anchovies packed in salt are best because they taste 'fresher' and I find are usually meatier. However, you can use anchovies in oil if that's what you have. I rinse and blot before cooking.
anchovies packed in oil are certainly suitable, because you can also use their oil for cooking. when sauteeing onions to begin the sauce, i usually add the anchovies after a few minutes. they melt into the oil that way. i'm pretty instinctive when making pasta sauces, so don't have a recipe, but i do like the layers of flavor added by those little guys!
a short-cut: if you don't have anchovies, you can add a few drops of asian fish sauce. it's based on fermented anchovies and gives that same umami flavor.
Puttanesca is great and you don't get that anchovy flavour, which we happen to like. It does add richness and depth to the sauce.
If you want a TRUE anchovy taste, our family tradition of eating fish on Fridays during Lent often results in us having this dish on Friday nights. Spaghetti cooked al dente. Sauce: In a sautee pan, add finely chopped garlic and roughly chopped anchovies (for this we use the best canned we can find) to extra virgin olive oil. Sautee on med until the garlic is lightly toasted and anchovies are softened. Toss is spaghetti and serve. My in laws always add a handful of breadcrumbs, but I don't like the sandy texture.
And, for a very special treat. We make homemade pizza and top with halved anchovy filets (no sauce, nothing). We use canned. Press them into the dough. Sometimes we drizzle the oil from the anchovies on top. Salty and deliicious.