I predict that you get about one paragraph into this blog post and decide that this dish is not for you. Or that, even if it might work for you, it definitely won’t please the littlest mouths in your house. I’m going to guess that if you skipped straight ahead to the recipe, and scanned the list of ingredients (resist; don’t do it!!), you’d click about as far away from here as you could go: “Oh, blech, no way not in my house,” you’d likely think, if not say out loud.
But I urge you to read on, and try this recipe out. Because this dish is so so soooooo much more than the sum of its parts. Seemingly incompatible and—depending on who you ask—even objectionable ingredients (anchovies, capers, and raisins, among them!) turn plain old pasta into a simple, summery, tomatoey sensation.
It’s worth making it just to watch your three year old (or finicky eater of any age, really) demolish a plate of pasta coated in anchovies and capers. As soon as I told the Bean that it was “pasta with tomato sauce” she was all over it like a monkey on a cupcake. (That’s an expression, right? Right.)
Best of all, you can transform this motley crew of ingredients into dinner in about the time it takes to cook a pot of pasta. And without any chopping, simmering or sauteing, either. Just whiz everything up in a food processor, and then stir it into warm cooked pasta. Perfect hot weather fare.
I adapted this recipe from Nigella. My version is not a whole lot different than hers, but I revised it just to make it a bit simpler, and to use a standard US dry pint of cherry tomatoes, rather than the 8 ounces specified in the original recipe.
A few notes from the kitchen:
- No matter how averse you are or think you are, do not (I repeat: do NOT!) leave out the anchovies. If you do, this dish will suck, and you will blame me. You won’t taste the anchovies, I promise.
- Do NOT leave out the capers, either. I hate capers, but I love this pasta. Just trust me on this.
- Be sure to use the best, best tomatoes you can possibly find. I have made this with awesome, sweet ripe tomatoes, and with kinda crappy picked-8-weeks-ago tomatoes, and there was no comparison. Get the best you can find.
- I like to make this dish with the long curly corkscrew-like noodles that Nigella calls for in the original recipe, because I can’t quite imagine anything more kid-tastic. But I’ve also made it with a paper thin dried fettuccine, and that was excellent, too. Just about any noodle with a good surface area (i.e. not spaghetti) will do here.
- No, this does not fit into Kiwi’s low carb diet. But life is short, and no one wants to leave this world with pasta regrets. Right, my love?