When you’re thinking about a recipe, I am sure your thoughts immediately go to shopping and all the ingredients you are ready to buy. My advice is to try opening your cupboard. I’ll bet that you will find a myriad of ingredients that will make a great pasta sauce in minutes. Now, I am thinking about an Italian cupboard, like the one I have in my home, with olives, capers, cured artichokes, -sun–dried tomatoes, beans, canned tomatoes, canned tuna, and so on, but I am sure that if you search your shelves you’ll find some unexpected treasures for your own sauce. Most likely, you have made sauces with some combination of the ingredients in the recipe below. The truth is, Italians have many simple -pasta–sauce recipes that exist only because the ingredients were handy. This recipe falls into that category; it is convenient, economical, and full of flavor, because cured products like olives, capers, and anchovies intensify in flavor during the curing process.
- Kosher salt for the pot, plus more if necessary
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 6 anchovies, chopped
- ½ cup pitted coarsely chopped black brine-cured olives
- ¼ cup drained tiny capers in brine
- One 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- 1 pound spaghetti
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over -medium–high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Once the garlic is sizzling, add the anchovies. Stir until the anchovies dissolve into the oil.
Add the olives and capers, and let them sizzle a minute, then add the tomatoes and 1 cup only of slosh water from the can. Bring to a boil and season with the -red–pepper flakes and salt if necessary, given that the ingredients are already quite salty. Continue to simmer while you cook the pasta.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water, and cook until al dente. When the pasta is cooked, remove with tongs and add directly to the sauce. Sprinkle with the parsley, and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Serve hot.