Calamansi, Caper and Anchovy Pasta

In the mortar
In the mortar

The title alone screams this pasta is not for the fainthearted, or at least the non-experimental ones. It has been a long while since I cooked some pasta at home, what with all the travelling I have been doing. (I would rather rest than cook if I am that tired.) But finally, an opportunity came up. And despite searches on the internet and deciding on a “green” pasta (like with veggies), I opened the cupboard and the two things that caught my eye were the anchovies and capers. Well actually, it was the olives that caught my eye, but capers work better with anchovies, I think. 🙂

Oodles of noodles
Oodles of noodles

I found this recipe and was surprised to find “fried capers“. I mean, will they get crunchy? But I followed directions, and ended up using palm oil simply because I found the throwing out part of olive oil wasteful. So I fried some capers, and then set it aside. It certainly added some texture, and looked like the skin of the capers were about to pop off. Which was cool.

I also cooked some spaghetti beforehand, and it was already just waiting for the sauce.

I then mixed in a mortar, as instructed, the anchovies, garlic, and oil. This was actually yummy, and I opted to add the calamansi later (calamansi is like a local lemon/lime). The recipe did not call for the sauce to be cooked, but I knew I’d get the ire if I serve them raw garlic, and decided to saute all of the sauce together. I then added the pasta, tossed it, added some capers, tossed it, then added the juice of three calamansi. Yuuuum.

It was a bit salty in some parts, especially when I added whole anchovies when I found the whole thing a bit bland. But mix it enough and everything tastes damn fine. Would love to refine this recipe more! 🙂

Close-up :)
Close-up 🙂

Spaghetti with Fried Capers and Anchovies Recipe
As copied from the site.

1/3 cup olive oil

  1. 1/2 cup drained nonpareil capers, rinsed
    1 pound spaghetti
    6 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
    1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  1. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the capers and fry over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and shriveled, about 4 minutes. Strain the capers and discard the oil.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, in a mortar or mini-processor, combine the anchovies, garlic and lemon zest; pound or process to a thick paste. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, crushed red pepper and fried capers.
  3. Drain the spaghetti. Add it to the fried caper mixture, toss to coat and serve.

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