Spaghetti : Roasted Cherry Tomatoes : Anchovies : Lemony Panko

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

Ah! finally back craving my spaghetti! I’ve been a bit out of it lately, possibly because it has been extremely hot around here (specially in a poorly ventilated kitchen like mine).Today, the weather here in Los Angeles has been a bit more forgiving, believe it or not, we even had a bit of rain. But don’t get me wrong I love sunny southern California, tomatoes are at peak season,  farmers markets are insane, full of colorful fresh produce, traffic increases to unthinkable levels, kids everywhere… yep, it is summer time.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

Today I needed my anchovy fix (which actually happens quite often but goes “unblogged” most times). I know it isn’t a popular ingredient for some, but like fish sauce or malt vinegar, this ingredient is all about personality. One strong personality that can be enjoyed in proper smaller doses and will deliver satisfaction even to those who swear by their hatred of it, believe me! Paired with some garlic, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and a rich egg yolks, this seemingly little dish delivers a succulent and elegant flavor dose (overdose really in the best of ways). The anchovy taste is nicely dialed in by the citrusy panko which adds an exceptional textural contrast. I would call it pangrattato but I don’t want to be slapped on the wrist by the true italian cuisine connoisseurs, so let’s keep it light, shall we?. This lemon panko, is browned on a pan with olive oil until golden and ready. Ok, let’s get into it right now!: 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

Ingredients (serves 2):

3-5 anchovy fillets
100g panko bread crumbs
1 large garlic clove thinly sliced
5-8 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
some flat leaf parsley thinly chopped
2 egg yolks
juice of a lemon (use to taste)
250g spaghetti
olive oil as needed
salt and pepper to taste

This is one recipe that can be ready in less than 20 minutes. Start by boiling some water, and add salt to it, enough so that is salty like the ocean. About 2-3 percent solution. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta. A couple of tips, add enough water so that the pasta can roil in it. Right after you add the pasta, stir it with a wooden spoon or spatula, you want to make sure the pasta gets coated by the water evenly. Leaving the pasta alone might cause some strands of pasta to stick together, because they hit the hot water and gelled right away. This is less likely to happen with fresh pasta. This should be ready in about 7 minutes, so keep an eye on it and check for doneness in the last 2-3 minutes. You want your pasta al dente! 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

Prepare your panko crumbs, which is extremely simple. Add them to a pan, add some olive oil, don’t drown them, a little bit of olive oil will be enough. With a wooden spoon, make sure the oil is evenly distributed amongst the panko crumbs. Keep an eye on the pan, even on low heat, these crumbs will want to brown really fast. Once you have achieved a really nice golden finish, give it a nice splash of lemon juice. Keep cooking a little longer, we don’t wan’t soggy crumbs. The lemon juice will reduce and the tangy finish will remain.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

Add the cherry tomatoes to a pan on medium high heat. Roast the tomatoes until you see some browning on them, but don’t over do it. These tomatoes are delicious even without cooking. Add a little salt. You want to get some caramelization on them but only slightly. Then add the garlic and remove the pan from the stove. Let the carry overheat slightly cook the garlic. Be ready to remove the content of the pan into a mixing bowl, you don’t want the garlic to go brown.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

Once you’ve transferred the garlic and tomatoes to a mixing bowl, add the chopped parsley, a little bit of olive oil and the mighty anchovies. This part is fun (unless you used anchovy paste) With a couple of forks or whatever instrument(s) of your choice, shred the anchovies and tomatoes together a bit, do not puree them! Just break them up enough but protect their integrity somewhat, at least this is my preference.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

Add the yolk! and combine with everything else in the mixing bowl. At this point I had propped a double boiler, which consists of a saucepan with boiling water. We will be placing the mixing bowl right over it. My mixing bowl is made out of stainless steel, and fits the saucepan just right.. these aren’t deal breakers, but it helps to have a nice setup. You could always skip this step, just make sure that the pasta is al dente and ready by the time you are ready to cook the yolks. The heat in the pasta itself should be enough to thicken/cook the yolks to get the creamy consistency we want. Remember that yolks thicken at about 142-144F, and pasta out of the boiling water will be at almost 212F, so don’t mix the pasta with eggs until it has rest for a little bit (about 2-3 minutes)

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

I cooked the yolks in the double boiler because I had already cooked the pasta ahead of time and because I wanted extra control over the consistency of the final sauce. Whichever way you go, fear is not an option! Just do it! 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

Mix in the pasta and stir until the sauce is fully incorporated with it. Add more parsley if you see fit, taste, adjust salt/pepper/lemon juice and serve immediately. Yolk thickened sauces need to be serve right away, they will become sticky and dry after a few minutes. You want that silky smooth coating on the noodles, so there is no waiting here. Eat right away! am serious! 🙂  Enjoy!!!! Until the next post! 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Spaghetti

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  1. Oh my, this looks divine!!!! I’m not really a fish person, but this looks really yummy, my stomach’s growling at 3am >”< The weather in England is insanely hot these past few days as well, I share the pain with you.

    1. thank you! yeah, the other day I was baking something during the day, I was overheating, it got so hot by the oven…. but I survived! The last 2 days it has been better, but I hear it’s going to get even hotter soon, like record hot.

      1. Baking in this weather is not a fun thing anymore, I’m thinking of letting my oven rest for a few days, maybe until it rains (which might not happen very soon). What’s up with this summer anyway, maybe we should switch to making ice cream 😀

  2. I am a huge fan of anchovies, and like you, I need a fix frequently (although I never blog the recipes). Wonderfully soulful food here.

    1. thank you Susan, we’re partners in crime here then. We should blog more anchovies recipes hahahah, I think it is a bit of an acquired taste, maybe? I don’t remember my first anchovy, I grew up eating them. But chinese fish sauce for example, I just tried it for the first time a month ago, and totally loved it… tasted like anchovies in a way ahahah, and I use it instead of salt in many recipes.

  3. Interesting fusion between Lazio (the region of Rome and the home of pasta alla carbonara) and Sicily (where pasta with anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs are very common). No wrist slapping required 🙂

    1. im glad you knew I was talking about you and also John 🙂 thanks Stefan! I looked for anything similar in my silver spoon book, and no pasta with egg yolk and anchovies. But there were a couple of recipes that features this combination. It was really delicious.

      1. Eggs and anchovies are a well-known combination, so it’s not strange they are good with pasta as well. There won’t be any wrist slapping from me as long as you won’t claim it’s authentic. Authentic Italian recipes are always simple, but the fewest number of ingredients.

  4. This sounds delicious, Paul. The main reason I grow cherry tomatoes every Summer is so that I can grab a handful and make a quick pasta like this one, whenever I like. Mine would probably have some capers, though, and no zest in the bread crumbs — well, not until now. That sounds like a great addition and I cannot wait to try it out. Why wouldn’t you call it a pangrattato The panko? Bah! The marvelous thing about Italian cooking lies in its variety. From region to region, city to city, and house to house, you’ll rarely see the same dish prepared the same way twice. Yours was a pangrattato, Paul, and a very good one, at that. 🙂

    1. ah! thank you so much for this supportive comment, John! I still feel like I’m only getting started with learning more about Italian food. Ive never been to Italy. I did grow up amongst Italians and Spanish immigrant families back home, and my friends moms were all amazing cooks, ah… I grew up with a happy belly I must say 🙂

  5. Scrumptious and delicious – not a big fan of anchovy – only time I can live with them is when I do Caesar dressing. Your photos again … are talking to me … TRY ME – try me … I will think about it, so this goes on file.

    1. 🙂 thanks Viveka! you know, the anchovies didn’t taste strong at all, like on Caesar salad dressing, they’re only providing a very particular aspect of the overall seasoning but it’s not the main flavor profile.

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