Classic Spaghetti con Aglio Olio e Alici combines the flavors of peppery olive oil, pungent garlic, spicy red pepper, crunchy breadcrumbs, briny anchovies and sharp Pecorino. This version uses two additional ingredients – salty capers and the bright flavor of fresh lemon. Altogether, this spaghetti delivers big on umami flavor.
Good quality dried spaghetti
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 – 2 ounce anchovy filets packed in oil
1 generous pinch of dried red pepper flakes
3 to 4 cloves of fresh garlic finely minced
1-1/2 tablespoons capers bottled in vinegar
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 handful of coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup reserved pasta water
Fresh grated Pecorino Romano
Bring salted water to boil in a large saucepan. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions tasting towards the end of the cooking process to determine if the right degree of al dente has been achieved.
To prepare the sauce, bring a large sauté pan to medium heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer add at all of the anchovies in the tin and about 1/2 of the oil the anchovies were packed in. Some may want to use fewer anchovies.
Cook the anchovies until these break down and nearly dissolve in the oil. Add red pepper flakes, minced garlic and capers to pan. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes longer being careful that the garlic does not burn.
Add dried breadcrumbs to the pan and stir until these come together in a “clumpy” fashion. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon. At this point, the sauce can be removed from the burner if necessary while the pasta is cooking.
When the pasta is ready, return the sauté pan with the sauce ingredients to a medium high burner. If the breadcrumbs have absorbed most of the olive oil in the pan add additional oil so that there is enough to coat the pasta when is added.
Add chopped parsley to the pan and a small ladle of the pasta water. Stir vigorously so the oil is emulsified in the added water. Add the pasta and toss in the sauce until all of the ingredients are combined.
Place the coated pasta individual serving bowls. Season with black pepper to taste and grate fresh Pecorino over the dish to serve.
Recipe & image: 'one old stove'