Italy’s first pasta factories were established in Calabria in the 1800’s and the Neapolitans used to dry the long ziti, hollow tubes to be broken to the desired length, from the sails of the windmills that dotted the countryside. They prefer it super al dente, some would say crispy, so don’t follow the instructions on the packet and make sure you taste along the way.This ‘knock up in a flash’ pasta dish from the Amalfi coast is from Diana Henry’s latest book ‘Simple’ and makes a great weekday supper.
Serves 2 – just double the quantities for more.
salt and pepper to taste
3tbsp good olive oil, extra virgin if possible
4 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
half a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
50g of walnuts, roughly chopped
8 or 10 good quality anchovies, roughly chopped
A good handful of Pecorino cheese, Diana says finely grated but I kind of prefer breaking it up with my fingers.
Heat the oil in a big pan then add the garlic and chilli and walnuts, make sure that the garlic doesn’t brown. Add the anchovies and press them down in the pan with a wooden spoon and they’ll melt in the heat.
Cook the linguine until al dente, which is normally a little bit less than the instructions on the packet.
Add a small cup of the pasta water to the anchovy pan then drain the pasta and add that to the pan too, stir and cook for a few more minutes. The cooking water will reduce to form a sauce with the other ingredients and the pasta will become glossy. Season well.