Grated Fresh Tomato Spaghetti with Anchovies

Tomatoes two ways -- grated and whole cherry ones -- are featured in this easy pasta dish.
Tomatoes two ways — grated and whole cherry ones — are featured in this easy pasta dish.

Summer is not the time you want to replicate grandma’s hours-simmered ragu sauce.

No, summer is when you want a tomato sauce that comes together in a snap that still boasts that glorious fresh tomato zing.

“Grated Fresh Tomato Spaghetti with Anchovies” is just that dish.

It’s from the new cookbook, “Simple Beautiful Food: Recipes and Riffs for Everyday Cooking” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Amanda Frederickson, a former cook at San Francisco’s Michelin-starred SPQR, who went on to become a recipe developer, test kitchen cook, and cookbook writer for Williams-Sonoma.

The cookbook includes more than 100 recipes very much attuned to Northern California sensibilities, with dishes such as “Smoked Trout Hash,” “Peanut Soba with Chicken and Mint,” “Broiled Halibut with Citrus Salsa,” and “Fruit Salad with Limoncello and Whipped Mascarpone Cheese.”

The sauce for this spaghetti is indeed grated fresh tomato, simmered quickly with butter, garlic and anchovy paste. The pasta gets coated in the quick tomato sauce, then tossed with cherry tomatoes.

Now, for those who fear anchovies, you really don’t even taste them in this dish, even though 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste is equivalent to about one entire 2-ounce tin of anchovies, drained and minced. The latter is what I went with since I had the tin, rather than a tube of the paste, on hand.

I was rather surprised, too, that the anchovy flavor wasn’t more pronounced, because I’m an unabashed anchovy lover, as is my husband. In fact, if I make this again, we both would champion adding more anchovies to the sauce.

Summer's beauties.
Summer’s beauties.

The recipe originally called for 12 ounces of dried spaghetti. Since my pasta came in a 17.5-ounce package, I just cooked all of it. Since there was a bit more pasta, I decided to grate two medium-large-sized tomatoes (instead of just one beefsteak tomato), and add one extra garlic clove.

The pasta strands take on a light yet velvety butteriness, and get coated in the vibrant sweet-tang of the grated tomatoes. The just-softened cherry tomatoes add a delightful burst of sweet juiciness to the mix.

One note about the recipes in this cookbook: They are written so that the ingredient amounts are only listed within the cooking instructions, and not as a separate entry above or to the side of them, as is conventionally done. I can’t say I’m a fan of this method, because it’s more cumbersome to see at a glance just what you need for the recipe and in what amounts. So, that’s why I rewrote the recipe below to follow the more standard format.

Any which way you read it, though, this recipe is a carb lover’s dream come true at the height of summer.

I garnished the dish with chive flowers from my garden.
I garnished the dish with chive flowers from my garden.

Grated Fresh Tomato Spaghetti with Anchovies

(Serves about 4)

12 to 17.5 ounces dried spaghetti

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon of anchovy paste or more to taste (see Note)

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

1 beefsteak tomato, grated (or more if you’re cooking the larger amount of spaghetti)

Salt and pepper

1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved if large)

Handful of fresh herbs such as basil and chives, rough chopped

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the dried spaghetti according to package directions. Drain the pasta, but save 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the anchovy paste and the garlic, and saute for 30 seconds, or until the garlic is browned and the anchovy melts into the butter. Add the grated tomato, a large pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sauce comes together. Add the cooked pasta and the reserved cooking liquid and toss until all of the pasta is coated with the sauce.

Fold in the cherry tomatoes, and cook only until warmed through. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve topped with the fresh herbs.

Note: If you want to use tinned anchovies in oil, just drain off some of the oil and finely mince the anchovies into a paste. A 2-ounce tin will give you a heaping 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste.

Adapted from “Simple Beautiful Food” by Amanda Frederickson

More Summery Pasta Dishes to Enjoy: Linguine with Red Snapper and Agliata

And: Beach House Pasta with Shrimp and Grilled Limes

And: Creamy Corn Bucatini (Or Spaghetti) Bowl

And: No-Cook Tomato Sauce Pasta

And: Pasta with Saffron Oil

And: Sicilian Pesto

And: Spaghetti Vongole

And: Spaghetti with Tuna and V8 Sauce

And: Wasabi Soy Sauce Pasta

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  • Wah, I’ve been really craving “fresh and light” summer carbs of late. Just did tomatoes, garlic and basil over angel hair last night. Anchovies would have been an inspired addition! Next time 🙂

  • Carroll: Your pasta sounds good, too! But I tell ya, the butter and the anchovies in this one take it to another level. 😉

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