Midnight Pasta With Anchovies, Garlic and Tomato

Midnight Pasta With Anchovies, Garlic and Tomato

Tomato paste gives this speedy midnight pasta, studded with anchovy and garlic, its color and umami. If you’re not an anchovy fan, you can substitute a few tablespoons of chopped capers or olives. Be generous when adding the pasta water to the pan. The mixture should look soupy at first, but the sauce will thicken up as you toss.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 2 persons



  1. Step 1

    Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook, according to package directions, until about 2 minutes shy of al dente so the pasta can finish cooking in the sauce. It should still have a slight crunch in the center. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  2. Step 2

    While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, combine the oil, garlic, anchovies (if using), red-pepper flakes and pinch of salt over low heat. Cook until garlic is opaque and a few of the slices are pale gold at the edges (don’t let the garlic turn brown), 2 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook until it darkens, about 1 minute longer.
  3. Step 3

    Add the drained pasta, lemon zest and 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water to skillet. Stir until the pasta is al dente and well coated with sauce. Add more pasta water, if needed, until the sauce is glossy and the pasta cooked to taste.
  4. Step 4

    Cut the zested lemon half in half (so you’ll have a quarter of a lemon) and squeeze some juice into pasta. Stir in herbs and taste, adding more lemon juice and salt, if needed. Cut remaining lemon into wedges and serve it alongside the pasta, which should be garnished with more herbs and red-pepper flakes, a drizzle of oil and a generous sprinkle of cheese, if you like.