It’s Thanksgiving week, which means the madness has begun. Weekends will be filled to the brim with activities and shopping, cookie baking and present wrapping. Which means time during the week after work is precious, and I need to make the most of it.
This is the time of year, when meal prep becomes ‘whatever’s easiest’. That may be thawing a container of beef stew (like we’re doing tonight) or making simple meals with foods you can find in your pantry (like last night).
Yesterday was a big push to blow all the leaves in the yard for Mr. KK (despite half the yard having snow on it) and starting the holiday shopping and entertaining Little Mister for me. Knowing I’d be doing a VERY LARGE grocery store trip early in the week for Thanksgiving, I needed to get creative with what I had in the house.
Enter: Midnight Pasta.
This pasta dish is easy to make with pantry staples, and originated as the dish Italians would make as a midnight snack.
If you don’t like anchovies, you’re out of luck on this one. But I promise they create a deliciously salty pasta, you’d have no idea you were eating them.
Recipe for Midnight Pasta (aka: Pasta with Anchovies)
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Salt (for the cooking water)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 small can of anchovies, mostly drained
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, optional
- Parmesan for grating, optional (for me: lots of parmesan)
- 4 slices of bread, pulsed into bread crumbs
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp. butter
Put spaghetti in well-salted pan of boiling water. Cook according to package directions until al dente.
Melts 2 Tbsp butter in small sauté pan over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and stir to coat. Toast breadcrumbs, stirring to keep them evenly browned. Sprinkle zest of lemon into breadcrumbs. Remove from heat when toasty.
While the pasta is cooking, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, without letting it brown. Add the anchovies, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. As they cook, they will start to melt. When anchovies are mostly melted, add capers and red pepper and cook for a half-minute more.
Reserve a 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and add it to the skillet with the anchovy sauce. Toss spaghetti to coat it with the anchovy sauce. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water to loosen up the sauce if necessary. Remove from heat.
Plate spaghetti and top with lemony breadcrumbs and parmesan.