Linguine con alici, or Linguini with Anchovies, is another quick and easy dish for those days when you don’t really feel like cooking but you want to eat something tasty. It’s a riff off of the classic ajo e ojo with anchovies.
Serves 4-6 persons
- 400g (16 oz) linguini or other long pasta
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- A small can of anchovy fillets (50g/2 oz)
- A sprig or two of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
Start as you would for aglio, olio e peperoncino, by very gently browning a few cloves of garlic—for this variation, I like to chop the garlic rather than using slightly crushed cloves—in fruity olive oil. When the garlic is just beginning to brown, add some red pepper flakes and, almost immediately thereafter, a can of anchovy fillets. Allow to cook gently over low heat, stirring from time to time, until the anchovies have almost entirely ‘melted’. Add a pinch of salt (not too much, since the anchovies are already salty) and chopped parsley, stir and turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, cook your linguine (spaghetti are also excellent with this sauce) al dente in well salted water, drain (but not too well) and add to the skillet.
Mix well and allow the spaghetti to cook over gentle heat for just 30 seconds or so, long enough so that the pasta absorbs a bit of the sauce and any excess liquid evaporates. Taste for salt and serve immediately. Buon appetito!
Like ajo e ojo itself, the key to success when making Linguini with Anchovies lies in the fruitiness of the olive oil and the freshness of the garlic. Go easy on the salt, however, as the anchovies, of course, are themselves quite salty. Of course, if you use anchovies packed in salt—which you need to rinse and fillet yourself under running water—the flavor will be even better, but then you will have departed from ‘quick and easy’ territory.
As for measurements, Linguini with Anchovies another dish where they are not all that important—or rather, they can be varied according to taste. As for oil, I use just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Just leave any excess oil in the bottom of the skillet as you serve. But don’t skimp: this pasta is supposed to slither on your plate!