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Author Notes: I grew up as the oldest of six children and my parents both worked full time. Needless to say, there were some nights when dinner was made of purely pantry ingredients (some of these concoctions were better than others). My favorite pantry-night dinner was my mom’s anchovy pasta. My mom would get her biggest cast iron skillet, pour in a generous helping of olive oil, and gently heat anchovies, garlic, and red pepper flakes. While the aromatics lightly sizzled she would boil up enough pasta to feed a crowd and us kids would argue over who got to shake the pre-grated, slightly questionable container of parmesan. The pasta then joined the olive oil concoction and was swirled with some parmesan cheese and any greens left in the vegetable drawer.
This recipe is an adaptation of that mid-week favorite. I’ve stayed true to the quick and savory soul of the recipe, but I’ve added some of my own favorite pantry items to kick it up a notch. Capers provide a burst of vinegary brininess and Kraft pre-shredded parmesan cheese has been replaced with some freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. This recipe is infinitely adaptable; top it with a fried egg, shaved radishes, or bread crumbs!
Serves: 2, generously
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 15 min
cup olive oil
teaspoon red pepper flakes
tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
filets of canned anchovies
clove of garlic
cup shaved parmesan cheese
cup arugula, spinach, or baby kale
- Set a pot of heavily salted water to boil according to the instructions on your box of pasta.
- Pour olive oil into a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Heat until shimmering.
- Add red pepper flakes and capers to the pan; cook for 2-3 minutes
- Add whole anchovies to the skillet; stir gently to break apart the filets. They should break down very easily.
- Add your garlic to the pan and stir. Let the garlic lightly brown, and then turn off the heat. The garlic will cook through with the residual heat from the skillet.
- Add your pasta to the olive oil mixture; stir to combine.
- Add parsley, greens, and parmesan. Stir to combine. Serve with more parsley, red pepper flakes, and freshly cracked black pepper.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Umami-Centric Recipe