Food is a funny thing. I used Peruvian anchovies in an Italian style recipe made by an Indian with cooking skills strongly influenced by Indo-Portuguese traditions from the state of Goa. We are diverse, but there is something that ties us traditional coastal dwellers together. We eat fish – lots of it – and we shut shop for afternoon siesta. This isn’t an invitation to stereotype. Just observe. We love fresh, briny, vinegar-y things with spice. Sometimes all together, sometimes not. We all have a “person”, from whom we get the best fish and that will be our person for life. We sunbathe our seafood on the side of hot asphalt village roads and we pickle it in jars to eat all through the monsoon. I’m going to make this my own someday but for now, here’s a close second of all those flavours that sit on my palate and hit all the right notes in my amygdala. It reminds me of my longing for the ocean and the balmy days I was close to it. One bite and I can’t help but cry.
Linguine with burst cherry tomatoes, anchovies, capers and their juices
If you’d like to attempt making your pasta at home, I have ingredient quantities here. I need to update that recipe with rolling pin instructions but if you’d like to beat me to it, a simple web search with the words “pasta with a rolling pin” will give you all the clues you need. There might even be a YouTube video for it. If you’re in Goa, my sister makes bomb homemade noodles and you can def buy some from her for this recipe. LUCKY.
Another note, I usually have about 10-15 cherry tomatoes uncooked and cut in half on the side so I can toss some fresh ones in with the cooked pasta. I like the mix of cooked and uncooked.
I added some fresh basil before serving but if you don’t want to do that, the rosemary scent/flavour does a great job of adding those herb notes to the dish.
Serves 4 or ravenous 2
- 400 gms/1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic (about 1 tbsp), roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 stalk of rosemary
- 4 anchovy filets + 1 tbsp of the oil
- 1 tbsp capers, 1 tbsp of the brine
- 255 gms/9 oz linguine (I used this brand and they paid me zero money)
- Plenty of Grana parmesan, shaved on top
- Fresh basil, to top (optional)
Make this in the oven
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a Dutch oven or a deep baking dish, add the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt and rosemary. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. If using a deep baking dish, cover the top with foil.
While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare your anchovy-caper stir-ins. Chop the anchovy and capers to fine pieces and add to a small bowl. Toss in 1 tsp of oil and 1 tbsp of the caper brine and mix well.
About 10-15 minutes before the tomatoes are ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on high heat. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. If using dried pasta, cook according to package instructions. If using fresh, it should take 1-2 minutes for the pasta to cook. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Remove the pot from the oven and carefully open the lid. It will be steaming. Toss in the warm pasta and using a ladle, mix it well to combine. Add some of the pasta cooking water if you want the pasta to be a little more saucy. Stir in the anchovy-caper mixture. Serve while still warm and top with Grana, uncooked cherry tomatoes (*see note 2, if using), and fresh basil.
Make this on the stove
Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and add the garlic and rosemary to it. Stir to mix for about a minute. Add the tomatoes to the pot and toss them so they are coated with the oil. Cook the cherry tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until they blister, turn soft and are almost ready to burst, about 8-10 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on high heat. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. If using dried pasta, cook according to package instructions. If using fresh, it should take 1-2 minutes for the pasta to cook. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Toss the warm pasta into the pot with the tomatoes and using a ladle, mix it well to combine. Add some of the pasta cooking water if you want the pasta to be saucier. Stir in the anchovy-caper mixture (see instructions above). Serve while still warm and top with Grana, uncooked cherry tomatoes (*see note 2, if using), and fresh basil.