A recipe from Nancy Harmon Jenkins, author of "The Four Seasons of Pasta."
- 6 to 8 oil-packed anchovy fillets
- 2 tablespoons salt-packed capers
- 1 cup pitted black olives, preferably Gaeta
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound linguine, vermicelli, spaghetti, or other long thin pasta
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
Chop the anchovy fillets into small pieces. Rinse the capers thoroughly to rid them of salt, then chop coarsely. Coarsely chop the pitted olives.
In a large pasta kettle, bring water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta, following package recommendations for time. Linguine will take 10 to 12 minutes, thinner pasta a little less—but follow package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the oil and garlic in a pan over low heat and cook gently until the garlic softens and just begins to turn golden. Do not let it brown. Add the capers and olives with a ladleful of boiling pasta water. Add the parsley, with a little more water if it seems necessary, along with several grinds of black pepper. Let the mixture cook at a bare simmer, then, just before the pasta is done, add the anchovy bits and mix well, pressing with a fork to dissolve the anchovies into the sauce.
As soon as the pasta is done, drain and turn it into a warmed pasta bowl. Immediately add the sauce and turn to mix well. Serve immediately.
Notes: Use naturally cured olives, perhaps small Gaeta olives, and be sure to take the pits out. If you can’t find Gaetas, use wrinkled, salt-cured Moroccan or French olives (sometimes called oil-cured olives, though they’re not actually cured in oil at all).
The anchovies are a key component to this dish, so use a lot or a little, depending on your own preference, but don’t leave them out.