by Susan Hanna

This pasta dish from Alison Roman is absolutely delicious. Caramelize shallots and garlic, add hot pepper flakes, anchovies, tomato paste and cook for another few minutes. Set half of the sauce aside in the fridge or freezer for future use. Cook the pasta and add to the remaining sauce with some of the pasta cooking water. Cook until the sauce is thickened a bit and coats the pasta. Garnish with a mixture of chopped parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook’s note: I know this looks like a lot of anchovies, but they add an incredible depth of flavour and the final dish does not taste like anchovies at all.

Serves 4.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the hot pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Unico anchovies and No Name tomato paste. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 6 large shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, 4 thinly sliced, 1 finely chopped
  •  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon(5 ml) red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 2-ounce (57 g) can anchovy fillets (about 12), drained
  • 1 4.5-ounce (128-g) tube or 6-ounce (170-g) can of tomato paste, about ½ to ¾ cup (125 to 187 ml)
  • 10 ounces (285 g) pasta
  • 1 cup (250 ml) parsley, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  •  Flaky sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium high. Add shallots and thinly sliced garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots have become totally softened and caramelized with golden-brown fried edges, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Add red-pepper flakes and anchovies. (No need to chop the anchovies; they will dissolve on their own.) Stir to melt the anchovies into the shallots, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent any scorching, until the tomato paste has started to cook in the oil a bit, caramelizing at the edges and going from bright red to a deeper brick red color, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer about half the mixture to a resealable container, leaving the rest behind. (These are your leftovers to be used elsewhere: in another batch of pasta or smeared onto roasted vegetables, spooned over fried eggs or spread underneath crispy chicken thighs.)
  4. To serve, cook pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water until very al dente (perhaps more al dente than usual). Transfer to Dutch oven with remaining shallot mixture (or a skillet if you are using the leftover portion) and 1 cup pasta water. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the skillet to coat each piece of pasta, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any bits on the bottom, until pasta is thick and sauce has reduced and is sticky, but not saucy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, combine parsley and finely chopped garlic clove, and season with flaky salt and pepper. Divide pasta among bowls, or transfer to one large serving bowl, and top with parsley mixture and a bit more red-pepper flakes, if you like.

From Alison Roman