It’s Always Summer Somewhere – Linguini
LINGUINI WITH ANCHOVIES, CHERRY TOMATO, GOAT CHEESE AND PANGRATTATO
Sundays aren’t about hard work, and lunch should be the same.
Sunday lunch always starts the same way. Staring into the refrigerator blankly for what seems like forever. I probably look like I’ve been hypnotised by the fridge, but I’m making a map in my head, trying to connect the flavours of the random objects (that’s actually how most of my recipes begin). And rather than ‘cook’, I will always prefer to assemble lunch.
I think of this one more as a style of making a quick pasta than a recipe. Learn the technique and the ingredients are endlessly interchangeable.
I call this one a no cook pasta ( yes, there is a little bit) but there’s not much to it in terms of work. It’s boiling some pasta and warming a pan and tossing some things about. That’s about as technical as it gets. If you’re feeling hungry, and a bit little bit lazy, give this one a try. You won’t regret it.
When cooking is done with few or simple ingredients, you can bet that timing is the key.
- 160g linguini
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 8 anchovies
- 50g goat cheese
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 20g Butter
- 1 lemon
- Teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- Small bunch basil and parsley, coarsely chopped, no stems.
- 1. First, I toast some bread crumbs in a pan with a small sprinkle of salt and a dribble of olive oil. When they're golden brown, spread them out on kitchen towel and leave to cool ( spread them out or the steam will make them soggy).
- 2. After that I get the pan really hot, add the cherry tomatoes and blister and burn them. No need to be too gentle. I do this with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Put them in a bowl and leave aside.
- * After cooking the tomatoes, I cool the pan down again, and wipe it out with a piece of kitchen towel or get another one (if you can be bothered with more washing up).
- 3. Gather the remaining ingredients.
- 4. Put in the linguini into your salted boiling water, as it will take a little longer than it takes to make the rest of this dish.
- 5. In a large non stick fry pan, start the garlic, onions and bashed fennel seeds in a good splash of olive oil (don't be shy) and a pinch of salt, on low heat. You want to bring the temperature up gradually so you don't burn the garlic, and you give the onions time to lose their water and get sweeter.
- 6. When they're soft, but not browned, turn up the heat until you feel like it could all get burnt. Before the onions get any colour, add the white wine. The extra heat will evaporate the alcohol quickly. I add a knob of butter here to bring the flavours together.
- 7. When the wine has reduced a little, add back the tomatoes to warm through.
- 8. Take some of the starchy water from the boiling pasta and add to the pan to make a thin sauce. At this stage I add another knob of butter to help bring the wine and the sauce together.
- *If the pasta is not ready to go in yet, just pull the pan to the side of the stove and keep it warm. If it looks like it's drying out, add some more of the pasta water to loosen it.
- 9. When the linguini is ready, add it into the pan along with some chopped parsley and basil.
- * I take the pasta directly from the pot with tongs and put it into the pan so it's still very wet. I don't drain this one first. The little bit of extra water helps keep the sauce loose.
- 10. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and toss it all together thoroughly.
- * Plate up time..
- 12. Finish it with the anchovies, and crumble on some goat cheese.
- 13. A small squeeze of lemon and the toasted bread crumbs to finish and you're done.
- If it's for me, I will finish with a little drizzle of good olive oil, just because I love the fresh taste. But that's totally optional.
- The good thing about this one is that all ingredients are adjustable to your liking. If you want more, add more, if you want to change ingredients, go for it as well, but remember to keep all the flavours well balanced.
READ ON FOR PICS AND TIPS
and how to make your own versions.
‘FOR THE FOOD NERDS’
This dish is all about layering flavours bit by bit. Flavours that are bright, sharp, earthy, acidic, creamy, herbal, and a bit starchy. It’s about building contrasts into it, these are the things that get our tongue excited.
In all dishes that you cook, you want to use one ingredient to highlight another, find its opposites, cause some chaos.
Which part is which: going through it one step at a time.
- The onions and garlic when cooked low and slow turn rich and sweet and a bit jammy.
- Wine and the tomatoes bring the acidity to cut through the starchy and creamy flavours to come.
- The pasta will bring the starchiness that satisfies your hunger.
- Goat cheese adds both creaminess and richness and also some extra acidity.
- Anchovies give that deep savoury – umami flavour that makes you feel satisfied.
- Butter adds more creaminess, but also has a way of linking flavours together (totally unscientific explanation! but you’ll see what I mean)
- Lemon (a little squeeze only) at the end will lift all the other flavours and liven them up.
- Herbs bring a freshness and that ‘hint of the garden’ to it.
- The pangrattato (bread crumbs) are a replacement for parmesan or pecorino. They give a little savoury boost and some crunchy texture as a contrast to the soft goat cheese.
This dish can be adapted in a lot of different ways. It’s one that has evolved over time as I find new ingredients during the different seasons. Versions of this can be done with:
-clams and prawns with anchovies
-porcini mushroom and peas with herbs and parmesan
-italian (pork and fennel) sausage with cherry tomato and rocket leaves and pecorino
There’s no strict rules for this one, play it by feel, but do keep it balanced and it will work in so many different ways.