It is no secret that we’re big fans of pasta dishes around these parts. We eat it all. Long, short, creamy, tomatoey, oily…To be honest, we don’t discriminate much, other than that we’re not huge fans of jarred sauces (Mid’s being perhaps our only exception). They’re just so disappointing, and lack soul. Plus, it REALLY isn’t hard to throw a sauce together. Trust me. I’m one of the laziest cooks ever.
For the longest time I would just make what Shaun just referred to as “my tomato sauce” – tomatoes, spices, ground turkey, and a whole bottle of wine. I’ll post the “recipe” sometime. It’s sinfully easy and yields a really rich flavor. You just need some time.
Everything changed when my dad gave us an amazing cookbook called “Dining In” by Alison Roman.
Among all of her gorgeous recipes and photos is a recipe called “Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Bucatini” which immediately caught our eye.
As you probably know, anchovies are a standard ingredient in our kitchen. People think of them as fishy, but they’re really utilized for some salinity and umami. They should be in everyone’s kitchen. Fight me.
This dish is so simple and perfect. It just highlights what makes tomatoes great. They aren’t hidden by garlic, spices, or wine. The brightness, sweetness and acidity get to really shine. No fishiness to be had. Promise.
Much like the shrimp and broccoli pasta, this is one that you can definitely keep in your back pocket for guests. We have actually had people call us and ask for the recipe later!
Roasted Tomato Bucatini
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ red onion (thinly sliced)
- 5 anchovy fillets (diced)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 10 oz cherry or grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
- 28 oz canned, diced tomatoes
- 12 oz bucatini (spaghetti, angel hair, or linguine also work!)
- shaved parmesan cheese (measure it with your heart!)
- Put a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil.
- While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat the butter and olive oil in a high-sided skillet. Once the butter has fully incorporated into the oil, add the onions to skillet and stir them around to coat them in the butter and oil. Sautée them, stirring occasionally, until they are softened – about 10-12 minutes. Don't rush this. You don't want crunchy onions in your final sauce.
- Once the onions are nice and soft, add your anchovies and stir them until they melt into the pan. Then, add your tomato paste and stir it around until it starts to darken and thicken, and you start to wonder if you've taken things too far because it is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the grape or cherry tomatoes and stir them around, letting them sweeten and caramelize a bit (about 5-10 minutes). Once you feel that your fresh tomatoes are at a good place, add in the canned tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat enough so that the sauce isn't spitting all over your kitchen. Continue to stir the sauce occasionally as it reduces.
- While the sauce is cooking, toss the pasta into the boiling water and cook to the package al dente directions. It will continue to cook a bit later, so it is important that you don't overcook it at this stage.
- You will know that the sauce is perfect when it is kind of a chunky salsa texture. This isn't super scientific, so don't sweat it.
- When you drain the pasta, reserve about a cup of the pasta water. Add the drained pasta into the sauce, and toss to coat over medium-low heat. If your sauce was watery-er to begin with, you won't need to add a ton of pasta water. If it was a tighter sauce, you will need a little bit more water. This isn't going to look like Prego, so don't expect a super uniform, homogeneous coverage. This is a chunky sauce. You just want to make sure that the pasta can soak up some of the tomato juice so that it is actually infused with the fresh tomato flavor.
- Remove the pasta from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish it with fresh basil and enough shaved parmesan to make a cardiologist cry.