I’d been staring at this packet of anchovies for weeks, wanting to make something wonderful with them but waiting for the right inspiration to hit me. Would it be savoury anchovy toast – an intense spread of minced anchovies and garlic grilled on crunchy Ciabbatta, or a simple pasta of anchovies and fried breadcrumbs?
I toyed with those 2 ideas for some time before a visit to the market, where I picked up a tub of frozen crab meat, got me thinking about a crab pasta in a creamy tomato sauce fortified with anchovies.
Turned out to be a good choice. Although frozen, the crab was still quite flavourful. I
Crab pasta with creamy tomato sauce
4 large anchovies
400gm crab meat
1-2 tsp capers
1 large onion
5 cloves garlic
1 small chilli or to taste
70g tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the pasta in salted water, drain and cool.
Finely chop onions, garlic, capers, chilli.
Saute onions and garlic until soft and onions are translucent. Push the onions and garlic to the sides and put a little more oil into the pan. Add the tomato paste and saute until it turns a darker shade of red. (This carmelises the sugars in the paste and turns it slightly sweeter.)
Add the capers and chilli. Give a quick stir before adding cream and water. Add the anchovies and simmer for 20 mins, constantly working the anchovies to ‘melt’ them into the sauce. Then add the crab meat, stirring to break it up. Season with salt and cracked black pepper before adding the drained pasta. Mix pasta thoroughly with the sauce and keep it on the stove long enough to let it warm through.
An inspired pairing: