I don’t normally experiment with anchovies, so I’m really glad that I gave this recipe a chance. I guess you could say that it was meant to be, because I had some anchovies leftover from making caesar dressing (see recipe here), when I happened to stumble upon an anchovy pasta recipe in an old cookbook that I was flipping through. I made it for a dinner party and everyone loved it. I love how quick and easy it is to make. You could easily double the recipe (I did!) and make it in advance. I like serving this with roasted chicken and a side salad. The only downside to serving this dish is that it’s not easy to pair with wine.
Anchovy Pesto Pasta Recipe
adapted from Pol Martin’s Supreme Cuisine
4 servings of pasta (Note: I recommend using smaller pastas such as penne, tortellini, rotini, agnolotti, gnocchi, etc.)
8 high quality, small anchovy filets, drained (Note: It is important to use high quality anchovies, since they are so strongly flavoured and prominent in this dish.)
3 to 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon dried basil (Note: The original recipe called for 1 cup of fresh basil, but I wanted the anchovies and garlic to be more prominent in this dish. I also didn’t want the dish to look green in colour.)
3/4 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds (Note: I used almonds.)
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano or grana padano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place the garlic, nuts, anchovies, and basil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until well mixed. Then add the cheese and extra virgin olive oil and process again until well combined. Add a light squeeze of lemon juice and process until incorporated. The lemon rounds out the strong flavours and adds freshness to the pesto. Taste test and adjust the seasonings to taste. Pour the pesto into a large heat proof bowl and set aside. This can be made a day in advance.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Cook the pasta until the desired tenderness is achieved as per the instructions on the packaging. Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with the anchovy pesto. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste (personally, I like to use a lot), mix well and serve immediately while still hot.