Pantry pasta

Things I always have on hand: some kind of dried pasta, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, red pepper flakes, anchovies or anchovy paste and garlic. In the summer I also always have parsley in a pot outside next to the driveway.

That’s enough to make an irresistible pasta dish in about 15 minutes.

Let’s talk about anchovies, shall we? Maybe you think you don’t  like them, but you do. Do you like Worcestershire sauce? One of the key ingredients is anchovies. Caesar dressing? Loaded with anchovies. And if you use the anchovy filets in a warm sauce, they just melt away so you get that great salty boost without even knowing they’re there. So embrace the anchovy. Your life will be so much richer for it.

There are a million pantry pasta recipes out there. Some include toasted bread crumbs for crunch or pine nuts for more crunch. This is just your basic and it comes from Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites cookbook, which I’ve been lovingly reading since his death just to make myself feel slightly better. If you’ve been watching Parts Unknown and No Reservations reruns nonstop as I have, a nice bowl of salty garlicky pasta will make you feel better, too.

Pantry Pasta

(Spaghetti with Garlic, Anchovies and Parsley)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

8 oil-packed anchovies, patted dry

1 pound spaghetti

1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves

Salt to taste

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, bring heavily salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the garlic, pepper flakes and anchovies. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the anchovies melt into the oil and the garlic slices are tender but not browned.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook about 8 minutes or until al dente. Add the pasta to the olive oil mixture and add a little pasta water if the mixture isn’t saucy enough. Serve topped with the cheese.

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