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Nov 9, 2008 04:34 PM

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.

Thanks everyone!

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  1. 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

    1. 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.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rubee

        Me too, I made some last week. Boo & hiss if you must but I use RRs recipe

      2. I tend to go with Anchovies in salt. I think they have a better flavor, but if you alrady have them in oil go for it! It isn't enough difference to make a special trip to the store.

        1. 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.

          1. I have used anchovies in oil, take and chop up the anchovies and add with the oil to sauce, Nobody knows they are in there but it makes a wonderful sauce. Of course your red sauce would have all the seasonings including red wine.