Perfect food couples no.3 – tomatoes and anchovies

The union between that most indispensable of fishes – the anchovy – and the tomato, is particularly embraced in the Mediterranean. From a simple Provencal salad of tomatoes, anchovy, shallots and parsley, to the starter I served at my first ever dinner party, Piedmont peppers, it’s a marriage that thrums of sunshine and sea.

Puttanesca is traditionally made with capers and olives, but this is a celebration of the simple love between anchovies and tomatoes, so I didn’t use them. Also, I didn’t have any.

Penne alla puttanesca

Serves 2

A small onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely sliced

12 anchovies, chopped

1 tin tomatoes

A pinch crushed chilli

A dash of double cream

A handful basil

160g penne

Salt, pepper and sugar

Olive oil


–       Sweat the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.

–       Season and add the peppers and chopped anchovy. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

–       When the peppers are soft, add the tomatoes, chilli, and a pinch of sugar.

–       Simmer gently whilst you cook the pasta.

–       When the pasta is almost cooked, add the cream and basil.

–       Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce.

–       Serve in warm bowls with Parmesan and torn basil leaves.

What’s your favourite recipe using tomatoes and anchovies? What food couples am I missing out on?


Filed under Recipes

3 responses to “Perfect food couples no.3 – tomatoes and anchovies

  1. celery

    Appetising stuff. Reading your brilliant blog gives me such pleasure but it’s making me feel permanently hungry — a bit like being in love.

  2. Anchovies are my favourite things ever. There’s a Ventian onion and anchovy pasta (on my blog) that I make more than anything else.

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