April 07, 2010

Follow the Lidia

"...(just don't substitute canned tomatoes)."

We did. Happily, we substituted.

Capellini with a Sauce of Anchovies, Capers, and Fresh Tomatoes became Linguine with a Sauce of Anchovies, Capers, and Canned Tomatoes.

Our rebellion rewarded us.

Racing against the dwindling evening light, there was a flurry of activity in the kitchen. The table set. The salad made. Roberto walked through the door just as I dipped a spoon into a can of San Marzano. While he changed into his eating clothes (jeans and a t-shirt), I extracted the first tomato, followed by the second, third, fourth, fifth...Etc.

By the time the last tomato was pulled, a puddle of tomato juice had gathered dangerously close to the edge of the cutting board. Oh horror.

Wielding large metal spoon, Roberto coerced chopped garlic, shallot, anchovies, capers and peperoncino into the waiting extra virgin olive oil. I sliced a seven grain and opened a bottle of red.

The water boiled. The salt was added. The pasta was dropped. About a half pound linguine danced about. Roberto added the tomatoes, a bit of the juice, a heap of chopped parsley and a smidgen of salt to the pan. Leaning over the sauce, I took my hand and wafted with three distinct and delicate flourishes, the smell up to my waiting nose. This was followed by a spoonful to taste.

"This is perfect." I said.

The cooked linguine fell into the waiting pan of sauce where it was stirred until each strand had been properly dressed. We took our warmed bowls and filled them greedily. What would we do without freshly grated parmesan?

After a second smaller serving, we both sat basking with bellies full.

"Take some of that bread and sop up the rest of the sauce." He said.

I wanted to. I really did. The gravity wishing to pull me towards the pan was great.

"That's okay. One must remain civilized in these situations." I said.


  1. I love Lidia and her recipes, watch her a lot on PBS.... beautiful Lidia's Italy, great source of inspiration.
    What can I say....your dinner sounds great. :)

  2. Now i want go back home and cook pasta.....
    we had cannelloni with spinach and ricotta yesterday night :)

  3. How amazinngly ironic! I made a very similar pasta last night. Mine had olive oil, grape tomatoes (what I had on hand), anchivies, capers, black olives, pine nuts and I topped it with fresh chopped herbs :)
    I love this last minute kind of sauce: satisfying yet complex, with rich layers of flavors, and salty.

  4. P.s. oh and I added white wine and reduced that down while the sauce was cooking (just the time to boil the water)

  5. M. - We watch her every weekend on PBS. She is very inspiring.

    Elisabelle - Oh, yes! Go home now and cook pasta. :) We have some cannelloni in need of attention. Perhaps this weekend.

    Amelia - Wow...there must have been something in the air. I love the complexities that you brought to your dish. The olives and pine nuts, the wine. Layers and layers of flavor.

  6. Tracy (I feel naughty not calling you Amuse!!), you inspire me every day to eat pasta, and every day I do not follow through. I simply must. Now. TONIGHT!!!

  7. Haha I love this! Your words are great. It's been a while since I've had such a meal and I like how it doesn't take long.

  8. Tart - Ah, you must follow through. :)

    alexandria - It is quick. Eating it is even quicker. :)

  9. I love the effortless ballet that you and Roberto perform at the end of each day for your evening meal together. Gathering ingredients, chopping, pressing,sauteeing, boiling, tossing, eating and enjoying. Perfect.

  10. Michele - I can't wait to do it all over again, tonight...and the night after... :)

  11. boy we are going to miss you again this month Tracy. Of course the substitution worked, cause they were high quality tomatoes! that dinner looks yummm

  12. You disobeyed the Lidia??!! Kidding. I would be all about canned tomatoes, especially this time of year. This sauce sounds delicious and your writing is delightful!

  13. Your description is the best way to enjoy preparing (juice dangerously near the edge of the cutting board, jeans and tee-shirt) and eating pasta. I think the Italians would agree except maybe for the canned tomatoes but, hey a good quality canned tomatoes always works. :-)

    Great post.

  14. I would say that being civilized is certainly not called for when one has a pan and a chunk of bread.

  15. I don't know Lidia but must find out more. In any case, tinned tomatoes are fine if the recipe's good. Your pasta is stunningly beautiful and i'm glad you share my passion for it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.