This simple and delicious tagliatelle, tomato, and anchovy recipe takes you as little as 20 minutes to cook and tastes like the pasta you’d get in a family-run Italian restaurant somewhere on the Mediterranean coast.
For this recipe, I used Barilla’s tagliatelle all’uovo (egg tagliatelle). That’s one of my favorite brands and varieties of artisanal pasta. It’s inexpensive, tastes great, and sauce sticks well to it. To check out all of my favorites, check out my post about the best Italian pasta brands that you can find in the grocery store.
Usually, dried pasta makers make tagliatelle by extrusion and dry it as pasta nests. Extrusion is a process of forcing pasta dough through a die. Most of the pasta varieties sold at grocery stores are extruded. Fresh extruded pasta is rare since most of it is handmade.
To buy tagliatelle, look for the dried pasta section in your nearest grocery store or Italian deli. Most pasta makers sell boxed tagliatelle, 250 grams or 500 grams a pack.
Season your pasta water with enough salt to, as Italian chefs like to say, “make it taste like the sea.” When I make pasta, I simply add a good pinch of Mediterranean sea salt without trying to be overly precise. As your pasta cooks, it will absorb the saltiness in the water, which in turn will greatly enhance its taste.
One thing about making pasta that many home cooks get wrong is that you don’t really need a rolling boil to cook pasta. A gentle boil, which happens when I turn up the heat to 7 out of 9 on my induction cooktop, is more than enough. Boiling dried pasta is more about rehydrating the noodles than it is about cooking them fully through.
As you’re bringing up the pasta water to a boil, pour a little extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan and preheat it to medium-high. Mince 3-4 cloves of garlic and mix it with a couple of minced anchovies. The anchovies are going to add a salty and umami taste to your pasta sauce.
Transfer the garlic and anchovy mix to your frying pan and sweat the garlic for about a minute. You don’t want to brown the garlic, you simply want to let it release its natural aroma and taste onto the cooking oil. Be careful not to burn the garlic; burnt garlic adds a bitter and unpleasant taste to your pasta dish.
Open a can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crush them into bite-sized chunks with your hands, and add them to the frying pan. Mix well with the garlic, anchovies, and oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, and stir occasionally as the flavors in your sauce start to blend together.
By now, your pasta water should be to a boil. Put the tagliatelle in the pasta water and cook for about 4-5 minutes. As I wrote a while ago in “This Is How to Tell When Your Pasta Is Cooked,” you want to cook your pasta 2-3 minutes less than the recommended cooking time on the package. The best pasta is pasta that’s cooked “al dente,” which is a saying among Italian chefs that means “to the tooth.” It’s cooked on the inside, but still has a small crunch on the outside.
When the time is up, transfer the tagliatelle to the frying pan, stirring them in with the tomato sauce as it cooks. Add a spoon of pasta water to the frying pan and cook the pasta in the sauce for about a minute.
The pasta water will season your pasta dish and add some creaminess to the sauce that comes from the starch contained in it.
You’re done! Transfer to a plate, serve, and enjoy.
Here’s the recipe:
Tagliatelle with Tomatoes and Anchovies Pasta Recipe
- Frying pan
- Medium-large pot (85 oz)
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- 3 nests Tagliatelle pasta
- 1 can canned tomatoes San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 anchovy fillets in oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt 65 oz pasta water, making it taste like the sea, and bring it to a boil.
- Preheat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high heat in your frying pan.
- Mince 3-4 cloves of garlic coarsely.
- Mince 2 anchovy fillets and mix them with the garlic.
- Open a can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushing them into bite-sized chunks with your hands.
- Transfer the garlic and anchovy mix to the frying pan and sweat, stirring occasionally, for about a minute.
- Before the garlic starts to brown, add the tomatoes to the frying pan and stir. Let cook on medium-high heat, stirring every now and then, as you make the rest of this recipe.
- Put the tagliatelle nests in the boiling water. Boil the noodles for 2-3 minutes under the recommended cooking time on the package (mine said 7, so I boiled them for 5).
- When the time for cooking the pasta is up, transfer the noodles to the frying pan and stir, helping the sauce cling neatly onto them.
- Add a spoon of salty pasta water to the sauce and cook for about 1 minute.
- Plate and serve. Bon appetit!
How did this recipe turn out for you? Let me and the rest of this blog’s readers know in the comments below!