While I might profess to be an ardent fan of slow food (which I am) there is something inherently appealing about a fuss-free dish that can be conjured out of the pantry in under 20 minutes. My tagliatelle with anchovy, artichokes and mushrooms is just one of those sorts of dishes – making use of simple store cupboard ingredients with a few fresh flavours thrown in for good measure.
Long winter weekends can see me frootling around the kitchen, covered in a good dusting of 00 flour, half-made ravioli sticking to every surface and the scent of slow-roasted venison ragu permeating through the house. Or they can see me shunning all technology bar that of the telly – where you’ll find me engrossed in a particularly weepy 1990s film, bowl of speedy spaghetti in hand. The latter is the sort of weekend I’ve been attracted to of late – and what better way to embrace chilly days than with the kind of pasta that takes as much time to make as it does to pull the ingredients from your refrigerator?
For this dish, I’ve combined silky tagliatelle with artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil, Italian anchovy fillets (the wonderfully salty brown kind) and, although deviating somewhat from the Mediterranean theme, shiitake mushrooms. My preferred mushroom after portobello, I love the meatiness and robust texture of shiitake, and how they make one feel that there is protein present in what is an almost vegetarian recipe. I guess this pasta is similar to that of an Alfredo, but I’ve added the additive umami flavour of anchovies to the cream sauce. Naturally, the only seasoning the dish requires is a generous crack of black pepper and a grating of Parmesan cheese – unorthodox what with the fish, but don’t you agree that pasta is always better with Parmesan?
Tagliatelle with Anchovy, Artichokes and Mushrooms
Prep time: 5 mins / Cook time: 15 mins / Serves: 4
You will need:
- 300g dried tagliatelle
- 250g fresh shiitake mushrooms, roughly sliced
- 6 to 8 pickled artichoke hearts – you can find these jarred or at the deli counter
- 6 brown anchovy fillets (the kind bottled in oil)
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from the woody stalks
- 250ml fresh cream
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
- Parmesan cheese
For the sauce, combine the anchovy fillets with the garlic and the cream. Crack in a healthy dose of black pepper and using an immersion blender, blitz the ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
Fill a large pot with water and a glug of olive oil. Set it over high heat and bring the water to the boil. Throw in a pinch of salt and add the dried pasta.
While the pasta cooks, fry the sliced shiitake mushrooms in a little olive oil in a high-sided pan until browned. Roughly tear up the artichoke hearts and add to the mushrooms, along with the thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm in the pan. When the tagliatelle is al dente, use tongs to lift it from the water and place directly into the pan with the mushrooms and artichokes. Working quickly, pour over the anchovy sauce and stir through the pasta.
Dish the pasta into warmed bowls, shave a generous amount of Parmesan over the top and serve immediately with a glass or two of Springfield’s Life from Stone Sauvignon Blanc.