This recipe is inspired from one of my favorite cookbooks, Cucina Simpatica written by Joanne Killeen and George Germon the owners of Alfornos restaurant in Providence RI. Their recipe uses walnuts and spaghetti, but I prefer pecans and gemeli pasta.
It seems like a lot of anchovies but it really works and it's one of my favorite quick dinners to make in 20 minutes or less.
Grind the pecans to a fine powder in the food processor (without going too far and turning into pecan butter)
Drain excess oil from anchovies and chop. ( I also blot them dry on a paper towel )
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add garlic and anchovies. Sauté garlic until it turns a golden color. The anchovies will de solve into a paste.
Immediately add 1 cup of water and boil until the liquid has desolved by half.
Keep sauce warm while the gemelli cooks until is just under al dente
Drain the gemelli and add to the sauce. (Save a cup of the pasta water) Toss in the sauce over low heat until it perfectly al dente. Stir the pecans into the pasta. If it becomes too dry add in some of the reserved pasta water.
I like to top the pasta with a handful of something green such as Italian parsley arugala or finely chopped romaine lettuce that's been tossed with olive oil and the zest and some juice from a lemon.
(The romaine lettuce along with the anchovy pasta is reminiscint of the Ceasor salad and my favorite way to serve it).