This type of pasta dish (there are lots of variations) has been made by me countless times over the years. I always have things like capers, olives, garlic and pasta in the house, so, when I get the craving for food late at night I make this (below) or something like it. I must admit I have also made this as a second dinner for myself and my husband when we have the urge to eat something stronger tasting than our kids can handle at the moment (working on that!).
I love the slight sting of the garlic combined with the intense saltiness packed into the little capers and the smashed anchovies. Of course if you detest anchovies this dish holds up very well without them.
If you are in the greatest of hurries and need dinner on the table in 15 minutes (start to finish) or, you wake up at 2am with the urge for a snack, this dish can be your savior!
You will need: 1/3 lb spaghetti (I used Barilla brand), 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, 1 tbs capers (I used Roland brand), 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped, 1/3 cup finely diced red pepper, 1 shallot, finely diced, 1/3 cup sliced black olives, 2 skinless plum tomatoes, finely diced (I used 2 from a can of San Marzano tomatoes), 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes), 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional).
1 – Put water on for spaghetti and cook according to instructions. Before draining scoop out about 1/4 cup of pasta water to use in sauce if necessary or desired.
2 – Put saute pan on low/medium heat and add the olive oil. Saute the anchovies and garlic for about 3 minutes, all the while mashing and breaking up the anchovies with your wooden spoon.
3 – Add the shallots and peppers and cook for another 4 minutes.
4 – Add tomatoes, olives, capers and 2 tbs water to pan and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes (add more water if necessary). Toss in the hot cooked pasta and add pasta water if you need to loosen the sauce.
Serve with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.