Here is the good news…there is no reason to wait until July for this delicious simple pasta sauce. You can make it with sub-par tomatoes (cherry or hot house) before we enjoy tomatoes in their full summer glory, it will still be delicious. No mint? No problem. Use some basil or all parsley instead. Or use a tablespoon of pesto sauce. Don’t let a lack of ingredients stop you from making this recipe. All you need is a green salad to accompany it for a full satisfying meal.
It could also easily be a pantry meal with oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, canned anchovies, and a bit of pesto sauce. Voila! Instant dinner.
- 12 oil-packed anchovy fillets
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, plus more for serving (preferably flat leaf Italian)
- 2 tablespoons of fresh basil or mint leaves, plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh plum tomatoes-chopped, or all cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- 12 oz pasta of any sort
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
- While the water is coming to a boil, chop the anchovies, garlic, parsley, mint (or basil or more parsley), and red pepper flakes together on a cutting board.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the anchovy mixture until the garlic starts to turn golden, about 5 minutes.
- Stir the tomatoes into the skillet, cover, and cook until they are soft and release their liquid, stirring occasionally, 7-10 minutes. Uncover and cook for about 3 minutes longer to concentrate the juices slightly.
- While the sauce is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until it is just al dente…maybe a minute or two less than the package suggests. Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Add the pasta, butter, and lemon zest to the skillet and toss to mix well. Stir in a little of the reserved pasta water if it seems dry. The pasta will absorb all that delicious sauce, become infused with flavor.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley and mint and drizzled with olive oil. I added just a touch more lemon zest just before serving.
Recipe is from Dinner in French by Melissa Clark. She uses basil and parsley as herbs, I substituted mint since my basil is only 1/8 inch high at the moment. You could stir in a generous tablespoon of pesto in step 2.