May 3, 2010

Anchovy-Garlic-egg-spinach pasta. 'Only so much of new'

Old skirt + new tank== A new outfit.

Old chair+ new drape== New chair.

I am addicted to this idea. Turning something--anything--old and classic into something 'newish' by adding a little extra something. Kind of marrying comfort with rebellion. And in nothing is this so easily achieved as is with food. 

Iam mixing and matching. But the kind that I am suggesting today, is not your regular mixing-matiching type of thing. It is about changing 'only so much' of an age old favorite. Like adding fennel and grated carrots to the my lentil soup, adding a radichio to my potato salad. Things like that. Here is an example. My comfort food is potato fries. Yes it is true. Even for a healthy eater like me, it still is fries. And on thos rainy days, those depressing days, tired day, there is simply no way I would be coaxed into substituting my fries for  a grilled bokchoy. Agreed it is healthier, a new food option. But no Thank you. I will like fries, please.  

See the kind of association with such classic thingys. I know they work like a charm. And it is difficult to let go of such comfort, especially after a harrowing day. However on such a harrowing day, I would be very happy to have potatoes-- but baked on high-- with some garlic, smoked paprika, and lemon pepper. Now that is what  I will love..even more than my regular fries. 

I am always doing such things. Changing only so much..enough to have people fall in love with the 'new' dish..but not so much as to have it apprear suspicious :) It is like changing the decor of my room..but still keeping that old couch. Just with a new set of drapes on :) 

One such classic favorite is garlic-spinach pasta. Ceaser pasta like. I  simply added a bit of twist to this. Anchovy and egg. Boy wasn't it an instant hit! As I was saying it still had all the components of the classic spinach pasta..with the boldness of anchovy. The inspiration of the dish is from Rachel Ray. But my version is more figure friendly, in the sense that it does not have the cheese in it. You can obviosly add on some cheese. This is also a fantastic way to get pasta haters (it is crazy..let me tell you they exist!) to get inittiated in this lovely world of squiggliness. I have a friend who is like this. He hated pasta-- but on very logical ground. That they all tasted the same cheesy thingies. Of course he meant the student joint kind of places. This was of course before I treated him to pasta. And let me tell you, that pasta was not as half good as this one. I wonder what he would have to say about hating pasta, had he the chance of savoring this recipe.

Without much talk (as it is it is quite a lot) lets get straight into the recipe 


  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 tbsf of  olive oil
  • 6 anchovy fillets, drained
  • 4 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  •  1 tbsf of hot sauce
  • A box of baby spinach. You can use two bunches of regular spinach as well. Wash and drain. Wash real well
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano. Optional

Here is how you do it!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, salt the water. Add the pasta and cook until just shy of al dente, according to package directions.
Heads up: you need to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining.
While the pasta is cooking, put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the anchovies and cook until they've melted into the oil, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, stir 1 minute then add in hot sauce. Add several handfuls of spinach  at a time, wilting the greens in the garlic oil. Dress the greens with lots of pepper and a little nutmeg, then squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the pan. Add the reserved starchy cooking water to the eggs in a small bowl and beat together to temper them. Turn off the heat and add the drained pasta and the egg mixture. Stir to combine. Transfer to a serving dish. Pass the cheese at the table.

I served it with a stir fry of veggies-- tofu, carrots and beans. Was that much healthier of course. 

Happy eating and healthy living!


The Japanese Redneck said...

I miss fries.

Pasta hater - what's that? There are none of those at our house....

Looks great, bet it was fantastic.

Erica said...

We eat pasta we spinach and garlic once a week! I love it and it is great for my vegetarian husband....This sounds better than mine :)

Jhonny walker said...

@ Ramona: its amazing..but they exist!

@ Erica: garlic-spinach and pasta...well I can eat it everyday :)

My Little Space said...

Now, what formula is that? haha.... But it's a good one! And surprisingly, it always give you a unexpected result. However, I have some awards for you, dear. Please fel free to pick them up. Have a great day!
Cheers, Kristy

Ali said...

I love your idea of combining something old with something new!

Jhonny walker said...

Hi Kristty,
thanks so much for the awards. I have been a bit busy and hence did not get a time to check in...I will display them sooner than later

@ Ann: Isn't it a great idea? :)

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Fries are always nice to have though I confess I don't eat them much anymore. When I do, however, I always enjoy them. :)

Brownieville Girl said...

Fantastic dish, yummmm