Anchovy Carbonara

By Thursday, May 14, 2015 0 Permalink

Anchovy Carbonara

Carbonara is one of those pasta dishes (like lasagna) that everyone thinks is sexy as hell but nobody really makes at home. It’s a buzz word for deliciousness that we (incorrectly) assume is beyond our modest culinary skills. Foolishness! While lasagna, and homemade ravioli or homemade pesto, are truly labor intensive dishes, carbonara is actually very simple to prepare. Add beaten eggs and a massive amount cheese to a skillet at the right heat and mix into your pasta at the right moment and BANG you’ve got carbonara. There are a million carbonara recipes out there, so I’m not going to rehash something you can find elsewhere. What I am going to show you guys today is my own bastardization of the concept of carbonara combined with another style of pasta cooking I find really satisfying – sauteed anchovy fillets.

I first came across this concept on Jamie Oliver’s website about a year ago. For years now I have been using pancetta or even sausage meat as the base and source of fat for my sauces, tomato and aglio olio, but I had never considered an equivalent simple-sauce-starter from seafood. On its own seafood is not high enough in renderable fat to really be a strong substitute for pork, but as Jamie explains, if you really want to affordably deepen the flavor of a sauce anchovies preserved in oil are a phenomenal choice.

Anchovies are goddamned delicious, and adding a jar of anchovy fillets (usually between $3 and $8 depending on quality and quantity) to a hot skillet is a beautiful thing. After a few minutes of sauteing, the fillets literally disintegrate into a fragrant, briney, savory gravy. Under normal circumstance after the anchovies reach this glorious stage, I add my canned tomatoes and chill out on the couch for about 20 minutes before I chow down. But instead, this recipe takes that wonderful salty goodness of the anchovy fillet and combines it with the ultra rich satisfaction of the egg yolk. In effect I’m really substituting anchovies for cheese in a classic carbonara recipe, which I’ll admit sounds wacky, but I assure you guys, this dish is just really enjoyable and comforting.

Ingredients for Anchovy Carbonara

Anchovy fillets parsley and oregano for Anchovy Carbonara

Sauteed anchovy fillets and parsley for Anchovy Carbonara

Anchovy Carbonara

Anchovy Carbonara
Print Recipe
A simple (and simply delicious) combo of anchovies and egg that is savory and comforting. Goes great with a glass of dry white wine.
Servings Prep Time
2 People 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 People 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Anchovy Carbonara
Print Recipe
A simple (and simply delicious) combo of anchovies and egg that is savory and comforting. Goes great with a glass of dry white wine.
Servings Prep Time
2 People 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 People 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: People
Instructions
  1. Bring water in a large pot to boil and add your dry pasta. The rest of this dish takes only about 10-15 minutes, so timing this step is crucial to ensure you don't over work your sauce or overcook your pasta.
  2. On medium-low heat add your anchovy fillets and the oil in their jar to the skillet. If the oil in the jar is not enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan, add some additional olive oil.
  3. After a few minutes the anchovies should be starting to break apart on their own; speed their disintegration along with some gentle stirring with a wood spoon. Toss in your chopped clove of garlic and coarsely chopped parsley.
  4. After about 5 more minutes (or until the garlic is starting to brown), add the wine and chicken stock and increase the temp to medium-high. Let the sauce simmer for about 5 minutes while the alcohol cooks off and the liquid reduces.
  5. When the sauce has the consistency of quality salsa verde, reduce the heat down to low. Crack your egg and separate the yolk from the white. Now get ready to stir. With one hand ready with a spoon or even a whisk, pour in the yolk. Mix vigorously. You want the yolk to marry with the rest of the sauce before cooking. For extra richness feel free to use more than 1 yolk.
  6. Drain your pasta and add to the skillet. Work the pasta around to try to give it an even coat of sauce, which should be thick. Also mix in your black pepper and chili flake. Top with shredded oregano and enjoy!
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