Midweek Recipe: Anchovy and Tomato Pasta
Confession Time. I have not always been great in the kitchen (serious understatement). I actively avoided cooking in my early 20’s, and had a deep seated belief that I could not cook. For a very long time this meant ready meals, take aways and half hearted attempts at cooking. Cooking at the time left me uninspired, tired and broke.
In my mid twenties something clicked. I started cooking and I loved it. I tried everything and bought every cookbook! I had just started a stressful job and cooking alleviated all the chaos. During this time I started dabbling with aspects of slow living, and cooking for myself felt like a natural progression into this lifestyle.
Except, the feeling of relaxation did not last. I ended up in the kitchen for hours, following fiddly recipes that required the entire evening and a list of ingredients longer than my arm. Time consuming, expensive and draining; cooking started feeling like a chore (Sound familiar? ).
At this time my cooking and search for a healthy, slower pace were not matching up and I felt defeated and frustrated. I loved the feeling I got from prepping meals, but I also needed food that fit with lifestyle, was delicious and healthy. I realised I wanted food that gave me the freedom of time.
At this point I started exploring recipes that were simpler, used less ingredients and were no more than 30 minutes from start to finish. My love of cooking flourished again.
It took a while but I learnt weekday feasts should be simple and quick to prepare, especially on those days when you feel overwhelmed and tired. Its about the simple combinations: tomato and garlic, basil and pine nuts, lemon and honey. Combinations that are quick to whip up, inexpensive and delicious. Simple ingredients that only need a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper or herb to make special meal.
And this leads me into this weeks quick and easy recipe: Anchovy and Tomato Pasta.
The Anchovies give this pasta the salty umami that will have you licking out the pan. Tomato and garlic always seem the perfect pasta combination . None of the ingredients are exotic or expensive but together blend into the most delicious pasta sauce.
Anchovy and Tomato Pasta
1 x 100g jar of Anchovies
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped or crushed
1 red chilli finely chopped
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
handful of fresh tomatoes (optional, if around)
Pasta of choice for 2/3 people. I love Pappardelle for this pasta sauce but anything on hand will do.
Parmesan shavings (optional)
Boil water in kettle for pasta. I normally just cook the pasta whilst making the sauce. **Keep about 100ml of the pasta water before draining to add to the sauce at the end of the cooking process
Whilst the water is boiling gather all your ingredients.
In a frying pan, add two table spoons of the anchovy oil and the chopped onion on medium heat. Stir occasionally.
Add the crushed garlic and chilli after 5 minutes (or when the onion has softened) and cook for another two minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent ingredients from burning
Add your tomatoes and the the anchovies. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir the pasta water into the pasta sauce. Do this slowly as the sauce may splatter. (I always find this gives the sauce a bit of creaminess!)
Serve with garlicky toast and leaf salad and a glass of wine.
Simple, basic but delicious!!