Pasta with Anchovy Sauce

Called Bigoli con Salsa in Italian, this savory sauce is perfect with any type of pasta, but works especially well with long, robust pasta such as bucatini.

2 large onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
12 anchovy fillets in olive oil, finely chopped
1 tbs. butter
tiniest pinch ground cloves
1 tbs. water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 lb. bigoli, bucatini, perciatelli or linguini
1 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook over a low heat for abut 10 minutes, or until you have a golden mush. Add the brown sugar and let the mixture cook another minute. Add the anchovies and stir until they begin to melt, then stir in the butter and cloves followed by the water. Gradually add the milk. When it has all come together, remove the pan from the heat.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in an abundant amount of salted water according to the package directions. Remove 1/2 cup of the water and drain.

Tip the pasta into the sauce and add enough of the reserved water to make a sauce. Sprinkle in most of the parsley, then spoon into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Serves 8

Lamb Steaks with Anchovies and Thyme

This lovely sauce would also be wonderful with boneless, skinless chicken cooked in the same manner.

1 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
2 lamb steaks
4 anchovy fillets
leaves from a few thyme sprigs
1/4 cup rose or sweet vermouth

Warm the oil in a heavy skillet. Season the lamb and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or to your liking. Remove to a foil-line cutting board and wrap it.

Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the anchovy fillets until they begin to melt into the oil. Put the skillet back on the heat and add most of the thyme and the vermouth. Bubble to thicken slightly. Place the lamb steaks on a plate and add any of their juices to the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the lamb and serve sprinkled with the remaining thyme.

Serves 2

Cod with Broccolini and Chili

Perfect for a kitchen supper for two, this lovely and light dish is ready in no time.

3 tbs. olive oil
4 anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, grated
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
8 oz. broccolini, trimmed
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 cod fillets (approx. 6 oz. each and no more than 1″ thick)
1 fresh red chili, seeded and chopped

Heat the olive oil over a low heat in a large skillet with a lid and add the anchovy fillets. Stir to melt the anchovies into the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds before adding the broccolini. Tip in the wine or vermouth and let it bubble, then cover and let the broccolini steam for 7 minutes, until tender-crisp.

Season the cod, then add to the skillet and let it bubble for 3-4 minutes per side, or until just cooked through.

Serve in warmed bowls with the pan juices and topped with red chili.

Serves 2

Steak with Anchovy Elixir

This lovely elixir can be served with crudities or cooked potatoes for dipping or drizzled over steak.

20 salt-packed anchovies
3 fat cloves garlic, peeled
2 1/2 tbs. lemon juice
175ml extra-virgin olive oil
125ml cold water

Soak the anchovies in a dish of cold water for 5 minutes. Throw out the water, add fresh water and soak for a further 5 minuets. Rinse each anchovy under running cold water and remove the tails. (Or use oil-packed anchovies that have been well-rinsed.)

Place the anchovies in a small food processor (or into a bowl if using a stick blender) with the remaining ingredients except the steaks. Blitz to a gloomily, fluid sauce. Decant into serving pieces.

Cook the steak to your liking, leave it to rest for 10 minutes, then serve with the elixir.

Serves 4 with steaks or many more as a dip

Steaks with Anchovy Cream Sauce

This is a twist on the classic Steak au Poivre, but instead of giving the cream sauce a punch with pepper, Nigella uses anchovies. They melt into the sauce and add an earthiness and deep flavor that is utterly irresistible.

2 steaks, rump, strip, rib-eye or fillet
1 tsp. sea salt flakes
2 tsp. regular olive oil
1 tsp. unsalted butter
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 fat clove garlic, minced
2 tbs. fresh chives, finely chopped
75ml heavy cream

Take the steaks out of the fridge and sprinkle them with the salt on both sides. Leave them to come to room temperature.

Pour the oil into a heavy-based skillet in which the steaks will fit without too much empty space around them. Turn the heat to high. When the oil is hot, add the steaks and cook 3 minutes a side for rare, or longer for more well done.

Take the pan off the heat and transfer the steaks to a plate, then tent with foil. Put the pan back on the heat and turn it to low. Add the butter to the pan juices. When melted, stir in the anchovies and garlic. Cook for a minute or so until the anchovies melt into the butter. Add most of the chives and pour in the cream. Let the sauce boil and thicken, then remove from the heat. Pour over the steaks and serve sprinkled with the remaining chives.

Serves 2