Pasta with Tomato, Capers, Anchovies, and Chile
devised by Chef Michael Symon
erenditpy. The occurrence and development
of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. (Oxford
For many, it is the pairing
of food and
wine that is a wonderful ongoing quest. Making wine not just a beverage
but something that enhances both
the food and the wine. There are vast amounts of recommendations of
'what goes good with what', but in the end it is the dining that is the
proof. Sometimes a bite of food and a sip of wine 'sings' in your
mouth. Sit back and enjoy.
As we write this, the end of tomato season is upon us. A few green and
red tomatoes persist out on the vines that are turning yellow. The wine
harvest has begun and fall is a few days away. Looking for a way to
highlight the few ripe red tomatoes remaining, we hit upon a recipe
entitled "Linguine with
Heirloom Tomato, Capers, Anchovies, and Chile
on the Serious
website. They got it from Live
Michael Symon. Serious Eats changed the recipe to use dried pasta.
We used fresh. They say use 'really good tomatoes'. For that,
we agree, but urge you to try the recipe with the best you can find.
The tomatoes on our vines are not 'heirloom'. As
much as the flavor of heirloom tomatoes can be extraordinary,
for us the yield isn't enough. We mostly grow Better Boys.
about any homegrown tomato is going to be far, far better than what you
will ever buy at the store.
When we prepared the meal we weren't thinking of it as one for a wine
pairing blog. We didn't take a lot of prep pictures. Looking for a wine
to go with it, we settled on a Nalle Cab/Merlot blend.
Then, just a couple of tastes and few sips and.... Serendipity. A
perfect pairing. The food got even better (and it was good before). The
got even better (and it was good before).
Therefore, we encourage you to try this out and see for yourself (and
let us know!).
Super Salt: Capers & Anchovies
Chef Symon's original recipe calls for salt packed capers and salt
packed anchovies. In a perfect world we'd all have these in the house.
Well, we DO like salt-packed anchovies and have gotten them at a local
Italian grocery (they seem to freeze well). But we didn't have any when
this recipe came up. And salt-packed capers? Not sure we've even seen
them. Because the dish turned out so wonderful with the wine, we aren't
complaining. Maybe if we had the real things it would
have been that much better. Or, maybe, the wine was matching the oil
cured anchovies and the brined capers. Bottom line: experiment.
These are wonderful things and searching for them and trying them is
part of the fun.
Now if you are going to use oil packed anchovies, they say (well,
somebody says, we guess) to use ones that are packed in a good olive
oil. But we didn't have any of that, either (see the picture below).
Once again, it
didn't hurt the pairing, so we're not complaining.
are one of those things that fall into the 'ewww' category. Tell
somebody that there are anchovies in a dish and you get 'ewww', not
gonna eat that. We've found that a little bit of
anchovy heightens a lot of dishes (see what our discussion of 'umami'
and flavor in the gravy section of our roast
). When there isn't a lot, we don't see any
reason for highlighting their inclusion (that way when they ask they
can find out how good anchovies are!).This dish revolves around
anchovies so you have to either be a fan, or experiment to find out
that you will be a fan.
By the way, remember that if a recipe is calling for whole anchovies,
there are two fillets
to be had.
When we were a bit more naive, we thought that when a recipe called for
bread crumbs we should get out one of those brightly colored
round cardboard boxes with dry grainy bread typically seasoned with
things like onion powder, oregano and a lot of salt. Now we know
better. But the truth is when a recipe says bread crumbs there still
can be confusion.
1. Fresh bread whirred up in a food processor?
2. Dried bread whirred up in a food processor?
3. Fresh bread whirred up in a food processor then toasted in a pan?
4. All the other ways of doing it as well....
answer is. All of the above, of course. The problem is, we have found
that not all recipes tell you what they really mean. Meatballs are a
classic example. Often there is bread, or bread crumbs soaked in milk
called for. A random Bon Appetit recipe we found specifically calls for
FRESH breadcrumbs which are soaked in the milk. A random Kitchn (the
has the milk but just says 'fine breadcrumbs'. Since the goal is to add
moisture we suspect whatever original recipe was being followed, it
probably meant fresh. We'll never know. When it comes to meatballs it
can make a big difference.
For this recipe, we want fresh breadcrumbs which we will then dry.
Keep an eye out for this. You may be surprised how much it will change
Now we have to admit we didn't need to show you how to put bread in a
food processor (though we do like our little mini-processors for some
things, we have 3 different sizes of those). We just really like the
packaging for the BIMBO brand white bread. So many recipes call for a
"good white bread" (maybe even home made). Still, we've found this
bread to be pretty good, heavier and sturdier than many and less
'weird' ingredients, at least where we buy it. We keep it in the
freezer for bread crumbs and Thanksgiving stuffing like our grandmother
used to make. Recipes also seem to always say to cut off the crust. We
didn't. You'd never know.
We find that when we're toasting the crumbs, we turn off the heat about
when it looks like the third image. Then keep stirring until it is
uniformly light brown. Less chance of burning it that way.
You could also completely ignore the skillet and just dry the bread out
in an oven, then whir it up. Do what suits you best.
Cooking Dried Pasta
When it is just us and we want to have a salad before our pasta dinner,
we almost always par cook it. While you can do it without our handy
pasta pot, we think it is a great investment. It has a colander type
insert that lets you lift the pasta out of the pot and, more
importantly, put it back in. You have to experiment because all pastas
are different, but we find that 5 or 6 minutes in boiling water is
enough to get things going. We take the insert with the partially
cooked pasta out and set it aside till is time to be eaten. By
that time residual heat has almost cooked it through and it just takes
a minute or two in the boiling water to finish it up.
Several slices of bread (we like any variety of a white style
bread for this recipe)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound linguine, fresh or dried
1 large tomato, diced (about 1 cup). Home grown, height of the season is best,
but a good quality canned plum tomato, drained and diced will be fine (we often sprinkle
a little salt and a little sugar on them which seems to mask the tinny flavor that some
canned tomatoes have). We also suggest you use WHOLE canned tomatoes, they seem
to have less of that odd flavor).
6 salt packed anchovies, rinsed, filleted, and minced or 12 oil packed
1 tablespoon salt-packed capers or capers in brine, either kind rinsed and
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt, preferably Kosher
Whir up enough bread in a food processor to make 1 cup of crumbs. We'd
like to be more specific but this completely depends on what bread you
use. You can always start out with some and make a bit more until you
get the hang of the bread you typically use. You are using bread
crumbs INSTEAD OF CHEESE, use more if you like. (Don't use cheese in
Heat a large dry
skillet over medium heat (we use a large cast iron pan). Put in the
fresh bread crumbs. Stir often, and cook until they are almost lightly
browned. Turn off the heat and keep stirring. Bread crumbs
brown up quickly and you risk browning them to much (or burning them)
if you aren't vigilant or use too high a heat. Remove to another dish
so that they don't
overcook. Put them in a sealed dish if you can't stop from snacking on
them (as we do) as you are cooking.
Get your pasta pot water boiling (don't forget to salt it).
Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet set over
medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add the sliced garlic and cook
until lightly browned, one to two minutes. Add the red pepper flakes,
and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
You are going to need your boiled pasta, but when you start it depends
on whether it is fresh (cooks in a few minutes), par boiled (also
finishes in a few minutes) or dried (may take around 11 minutes).
You'll want it to be ready just as the sauce if finished. Cook it until
it is al dente.
Add the diced tomato, anchovies, capers, and a pinch of salt to the
skillet. Stir well (mashing up the anchovies so they mix into the oil), and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about two
minutes. Turn off the heat, and add the parsley and extra-virgin olive
oil. Stir well.
Transfer the cooked pasta with a
pair of tongs directly from the pot to the skillet. Toss well. Divide
the pasta between four HOT plates, and top each with a sprinkling of
crumbs. Season to taste with salt. (See the Roast Chicken
why you should be serving on HOT Plates!)
Note: The two of us like pasta and for this dish, we make 2/3rds of the
all the ingredients (give or take) except for the pasta where we would use 10oz
You can easily cut this recipe in half or even 2/3rds, depending on how
much pasta you like to eat. For a main course we'd probably eat more
than the 1/4 of this recipe. But then that's just us.
s we said above,
we weren't looking for a Nalle wine when we decided to make this dish.
Instead it was the idea that a Bordeaux style blend might be a good
pairing with the ingredients.
Only then did we happen to pick the 2013
Henderlong Ranch Cab/Merlot blend. Maybe there are other wines that
will pair as well, but if you have or can get your hands on this one,
it would be worth trying out. We really thought it was tremendous with
The winery tells us that the 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (75%
Cab/25% Merlot) should be
similar and as we write this it is readily available. We were so struck
with the Nalle Bourdeaux blend pairing that this would be really worth
Here is a summary
of the recipe in a .pdf you can print