Sunday, August 15, 2010

Anchovy Bread Crumb Pasta

I have to admit, I never liked anchovies. At least not the very fishy ones that always managed to find their way onto my half of the pizza. But white anchovies? With the light, clean "seawater" taste? Okay, those I like. Once again, I remember that maybe if you don't like something the first time, well, you should always be open to second chances.

This recipe is especially nice with heirloom cherry tomatoes that are in season now. You can really taste the tomatoes, lightly cooked instead of the long-simmered traditional pasta sauces.

Pasta with Anchovy Bread Crumb Topping

6 slices rustic Italian bread

1.5 lbs. cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
1 shallot, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
6-8 white anchovies
2 tbs. fresh oregano
2 tbs. olive oil, plus 1 tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. pasta
4 oz. parmesan grated
2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley, optional

Heat the oven to 400.

Pulse the bread slices in the food processor. Spread on baking sheet. Place the tomatoes, shallot, oregano and salt and pepper on another baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Bake the bread crumbs for about 3-5 minutes or just until golden. Remove from oven. Roast the tomato mixture, checking often and tossing to prevent burning. About 10 minutes, toss, another 5-10. Just until a bit golden on the edges.

Heat the remaining 1 tbs. olive oil in a skillet. add the garlic clove and saute for 1 minute. Add the anchovies, breaking the anchovies up with the garlic as you saute them for another 2-3 minutes. Then mix in the breadcrumbs.

Prepare the pasta. Toss the pasta with tomatoes and the breadcrumb mixture. You may need to add 1-2 tbs. of the pasta cooking water to keep the dish moist. Top with parmesan and parsley.

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