I am a sucker for a good plate of pasta. I don’t care what the carb-shunners and the anti-gluten crowd say: I love the stuff. To me, it is pure, glorious comfort food. Rice may be the staple starch in my neck of the woods, but noodles…ahh, noodles are what I crave when the chips are down and the world is with me too much too soon.
Pasta is also a great way of upcycling any leftovers you may have in the kitchen, in the fridge, in the pantry cupboard. Whipping up a sauce or a stir-fry/pan-fry base out of various edible odds and ends is a challenge in and of itself; a way of encouraging culinary creativity and old-school thriftiness – more so if you’re virtually scraping the bottoms of jars and tins, even more so when you’re prepping something for a solo diner.
Today’s recipe features a dinky little dish I came up with over the weekend. I was all out of sorts, under the weather, and was craving for something that was anything but bland after a week of somewhat indifferent meals (read: somewhat uninspired cafeteria meals, lacklustre suppers; you know the sort). In which case, it was time to raid the fridge and get cracking.
What I found: a jar of spicy tuyo (salt-dried fish macerated in olive oil with bird’s-eye chilies, whole garlic cloves, and black peppercorns), a jar of Portuguese-style sardines (just as spicy with bay leaves, peppercorns, and red chilies), a wee bottle of Chilean white (a Chardonnay, to be exact), and some spaghetti left over from Bolognese night earlier in the week. After throwing in a Spanish-style fried egg (cooked sunny-side up in a mix of olive oil and butter, the edges all brown and crisped-up) and some cheese, it was all systems go.
Spicy Fish Spaghetti
- 1 cup cooked spaghetti
- 1 piece spicy tuyo or 1-1/2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 Portuguese or Spanish-style sardine, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or the oil from either the tuyo or the sardine jar/tin
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained (optional)
- 1 fried egg, sunny-side up style
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or aged Edam (queso de bola)
- 1 tablespoon furikake (optional)
Put a frying pan over medium heat. When you note steam rising over, add the oil and butter. Cook until the butter has all melted and begins to brown at the edges. Add the minced shallot and cook till softened. Add the garlic and cook till browned in parts. Add the tuyo, chopped sardine, and, if using, the capers; cook whilst stirring for about two minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the wine. Stir well. Return to the heat and bring to a boil; cook for about a minute. Lower the heat and add the spaghetti, tossing well to combine. Remove from the heat.
To serve, plate up the pasta and top with the fried egg. Scatter the cheese evenly over the egg and leave to melt a little, approximately 30 – 45 seconds. Sprinkle over the furikake if so desired. (I do; I love the additional shot of umami it delivers in the finished dish.) Serve immediately.