Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow's "Roasted Tomato & Anchovy Oreganata Pasta!"

I came across this recipe on the way back from my mailbox the other day. It is this month's Bon Appétit cover recipe and the timing was just perfect. I was seriously craving some pasta and feeling just daring enough to experiment with anchovies. I'm also a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow and if there was any chance of coming closer to attaining her fabulous physique by preparing some of her cuisine, it was official: I was definitely up for "cooking the cover!"

The ingredients were easy enough to find: cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, basil, linguini...classic Italian fare. When it comes to buying tins of anchovies, it always brings me back to my Grandfather's kitchen. He always had some tins in his pantry and I could never understand the allure of these smelly, little fish in a can (this was "PC" mind you - pre-Caesar.) I usually love the flavor of anchovies in a dish as long as I can't see them and, in this recipe, the fillets are intact but smothered in bread crumbs and herbs. Would I like it? I was looking forward to finding out.

The recipe recommends roasting a portion of the cherry tomatoes at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours. I made this recipe on a day when I had the benefit of roasting those babies for the full 8 hours - I mean, who am I to argue with Gwyneth? I popped them in a glass baking dish with a healthy drizzle of olive oil and big pinch of kosher salt and at the end of 8 hours they were a burnished red color and were sweet, juicy and delicious.

The anchovies were easy enough to prepare, lining them up like soldiers on a baking sheet, 1/4 inch apart and then "tucking them in" with a delicious mixture of bread crumbs, olive oil, thyme and parsley. After baking in the oven for 5-7 minutes, the mixture was golden brown and bubbly. After sautéing the remaining cherry tomatoes (crushed by hand I might add) in a pan with the roasted tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, dinner was at hand. It was easy enough to plate except when it came to the anchovy oreganata. There was no picture of the finished dish in the magazine so I just scooped up a few anchovies and placed them on top. The recipe recommended topping each dish with one quarter of the oreganata, but I was erring on the conservative side, just in case.

As it turns out, for me one anchovy would have been enough for the entire bowl of pasta! This recipe is definitely for bona fide anchovy lovers; however, if you don't care for them, just leave the anchovy oreganata off. The pasta with the roasted tomatoes and their caramelized tomato juices is perfectly delicious on its own, doused with a generous snowfall of Parmigiano-Reggiano. I might even tweak this recipe in the future and make the oreganata sans anchovies. There's nothing not to love about toasted bread crumbs!

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the other components of this dish, I'm sorry to say even Gwyneth couldn't get me to love anchovies. I sure won't be giving up Caesar salads anytime soon and I am looking forward to making this recipe again without those little suckers! The roasted tomatoes and other components of the dish were delicious. Are you a fan of anchovies? If so, what's your favorite recipe?

Bon Appétit,


Gwyneth Paltrow's Roasted Tomato & Anchovy Oreganata Pasta
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cherry tomatoes, divided
  • 9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Large pinch dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Small handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Directions Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place 2 cups tomatoes in an 8 x 8 x 2" glass baking dish. Stir in 1 Tbsp. oil and a large pinch of salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours (the longer they roast, the sweeter and more concentrated the flavor). Set aside. 
 
Increase oven temperature to 400°. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Place breadcrumbs and herbs in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. oil over; stir until mixture resembles damp sand. Lay anchovies about 1/4" apart on prepared sheet. Evenly pack breadcrumb mixture over; drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil. Bake until golden brown, 3-5 minutes; set anchovy oreganata aside.   
Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.  Meanwhile, place remaining 2 cups tomatoes in a large bowl. Crush tomatoes with your hands. Heat 4 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until juices thicken, 6-7 minutes. Add roasted tomatoes.  
 
Add drained spaghetti to skillet; toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water by 1/4-cupfuls if dry. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil. Divide among bowls. Top each with 1/4 of the anchovy oreganata.
 

13 comments:

  1. Yeah...I'm not really down with anchovies either! At least not intact...I've made a couple of recipes with the fillets, and they sort of dissolved into the olive oil and lent a really nice flavor. The roasted tomatoes are lovely, though...love pasta and always look for a new way to make it light.

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  2. You are brave to try the anchovy dish! It looks fantastic and I have the magazine and will go through it in June, but I have to admit that that recipe is not one that I've marked as a to-try. Anchovies and I just don't get along very well. Maybe I'll try it sans anchovies and just send people to you for a review of the full deal. :)

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  3. I think maybe anchovies in baby steps...I have anchovy paste in the tube, in the cupboard, just in case I need it, it is still in the cupboard, waiting, until you convince me otherwise...:D
    This dish really sounds like a labor of love, really eight hours? Tell me it was worth having the oven on for that long. It sounds wonderful!

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  4. I'm sort of scared to use anchovies...but in Italian recipes I sort of understand why they are necessary! This recipe does sound lovely though. I am impressed that it comes fro Gwyeneth. I had no idea she could cook

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  5. roasted tomatoes are always great! I agree with you on anchovies - I can only tolerate them if I can't see them!

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  6. The tomatoes must have been wonderful after 8 hours and your kitchen had to smell incredible. I use anchovies often but 16 of the size I use are way too many for me. Maybe her's are smaller ? ?
    Sam

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  7. I'm not much of a fan....but I have used the paste in several dishes. Hmmmm. I'll have to think about this one, Stephanie!

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  8. Nope, I don't do anchovies either but one of my favorite things in the world is roasted tomatoes. This looks like a wonderful dish - minus the anchovies of course :-)

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  9. Thanks for the compliments! Hope your husband has a delicious birthday..I'm sure he would in your household - that pasta looks delish!!

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  10. I really love Gweneth. I think she is so smart, pretty, and super talented. I can't wait to try one of her recipes. Oh, and i like anchovies too :D.
    *kisses* HH

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  11. I do like anchovies but I've never used them in any recipes. I don't know if my family would eat them. This looks like a fun and tasty recipe...maybe I can put together a serving just for me. ;)

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  12. Sounds and looks incredible.

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