Fresh Tomato and Anchovy Penne Quick Pasta Dish

By | December 5, 2014

Anchovy and TomatoVersatile Anchovy Meal

This is a great “after work” option as it only takes as long to make as it takes for the water to boil up and cook the pasta. It can be on the table in 20 minutes.

I like making it this way with fresh tomatoes, fresh anchovies and garlic, but we also use canned tomatoes and anchovies in a tin or jar to make an emergency store cupboard meal when we’ve returned from a trip, been too busy to shop, or just run out of cash. The store cupboard version is great for student cooking as you get a portion of veg and a hit of oily fish brain food and the per portion cost if you’re cooking for two or more is small.

Anchovies are a mainstay of Mediterranean cooking, not least because they provide cheap flavor, but they’re also one of the ore sustainable sea fish, so you can tuck in without feeling guilty. As an extra bonus you don’t need much for a lot of flavor, so they tend to be kind to your waistline too.

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Ready in:
  • Serves: 2


  • 1/3 cup fresh deli anchovies (or about 10 fillets from a jar or can)
  • 4 fresh tomatoes (or a regular sized can of tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (you can use garlic powder or granules)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small red chilli (you can use dried chilli flakes)
  • 8 oz penne rigate or tortiglioni

Fresh Anchovies

Whilst anchovies fresh from the deli look great, taste great and have less salt than the packed ones, they don’t last well and if you don’t happen to have a Spanish deli within walking distance of your house then it’s not always so convenient. These Cento anchovies are a good choice. They’re much less salty than some of the preserved brands, and they’re great to have in the cupboard to perk up a past a or pizza dish or to give some zing to a salad.

Anchovy Pasta Directions

  • Fill a saucepan with water and put it on to boil.
  • Chop your tomatoes and pop them in a bowl with the crushed garlic, finely chopped chili and some fresh ground pepper.
  • Arrange the anchovies in a skillet with a little of their oil.
  • Slowly warm the anchovies on a low heat, you want them to almost melt rather than fry.
  • When the water is boiling add the pasta and set the timer according to package directions.
  • Add the tomatoes to the anchovies and let them slowly warm through, you want them to collapse, like you at the end of a long day, rather than boil up and disintegrate entirely.
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the pan, throw in the anchovy tomato mix, with a bonus glug of olive oil if you like.
  • Serve immediately.

Tomatoes and Garlic


  1. You can use any kind of pasta you like, but I think it works well with ridged tubes as they hold the little bits of sauce to the sides of the macaroni well. If you’re feeling flush then bronze cut pasta does this even better as the ridges are rougher giving more sticking capability.
  2. Once you’ve tried bronze cut pasta, you won’t want to go back. I don’t know why someone hasn’t invented an industrial steel pasta cutter that can replicate the slight tearing effect that gives bronze die pasta it’s rough, sauce-loving surface, but they haven’t.
  3. A well stocked spice rack means you can turn some pretty cheap and basic ingredients into quite a meal. You can make the most of gluts and sales of fresh produce.  If you’re looking for a gift for a new student, someone moving into their first home, or just someone who enjoys good food but is a little short of cash then this spice rack is a great gift.  It comes ready filled with a good range of spices, and you can refill it with small grocery store packets as you go along so you never have that big outlay of having to buy a whole lot of spices at once.

Anchovy Penne

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