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.
- Serves: 2 persons
- Salt, as needed
- ½pound bucatini, spaghetti or linguine
- 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 4garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4to 8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
- Large pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
- 1 ½tablespoons tomato paste
- ½small lemon, zested
- Handful of coarsely chopped parsley or basil leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
- Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)
Step 1Bring 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.
Step 2While 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.
Step 3Add 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.
Step 4Cut 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.