Last night, I was treated to dinner at Del Posto. Dan's very generous boss invited me to tag along for their company dinner-- an eight course tasting menu. Needless to say, it was food from beyond this world. Dishes like "Cool Lobster Salad with Burrata, Fermented Broccolini andLemon Pane Grattato," and "Truffled Beef Carne Cruda with Grana Padano and Watercress Buds" were among those that convinced me that there's no reason to ever cook or chew other food ever again because it will never be as good. I've been led out of the cave, my friends. Alas, I have a blog to write, so I'll soldier on for you, dear readers.
As meaningless as it all seems now, I made a quick, nifty pasta dish last week that I was pretty proud of. It tasted great (HA, how naive I once was...), but it was also noteworthy because it was a total "things you have laying around" kind of meal. All you need is pasta, ideally spaghetti, some parsley, which we all inevitably have leftover from something or other, plenty of grated pamaggiano reggiano and anchovy fillets, the kind you can buy in a can from Duane Reade.
I implore you not to fear anchovies. Cartoons always make them out to be some sort of bizarre peasant food that wrong-side-of-the-tracks cats eat. But anchovies are a cheap, very healthful way to make a dish explode with salty, briny flavor and they're great to have on-hand. Sometimes they can overpower a dish, much like capers, but this pasta is a safe way to try cooking with them for the first time.
It's no Del Posto, but if you're broke and lazy, this is a great recipe to add to your easy weeknight meals repertoire!
P.S. This is one of those meals that could totally float with the "put an egg on it!" trend. If you're needing a little extra substance, fry up an egg and serve it right on top of the pasta. The broken yolk will add a perfect rich and creamy fattiness that will help balance the intense anchovy flavor!
Spaghetti with Anchovies and Parsley
1/2 lb. spaghetti
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 anchovy fillets, chopped
1/2 cup Parmaggiano Reggiano, grated
1/4 cup of parsley, chopped
Freshly ground pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon
1 egg, fried, per serving
1.Bring salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
2. Heat a healthy glug of oil and add garlic and anchovies, cooking over medium heat. The anchovies will dissolve as they cook, about 2 minutes. Add in pasta, cheese, parsley, cooking water, a squeeze of fresh lemon and lots of fresh black pepper. You shouldn't need any additional salt with the anchovies and salty cheese.
3. In a separate skillet, quickly fry up one egg per person. Take care not to overcook so that your yolks are still plenty runny. Portion your pasta onto plates and top each with a fried egg. Serves 2-4.