Take One Bag of Flour

I don’t know who discovered that by grinding grains, flour could be produced. And whoever then went on to figure out that by adding simple ingredients like water and air, you could end up with a delicious loaf of sourdough bread. As for pasta, whoever had that great idea of adding an egg and a pinch of salt to make a beautiful silky dough….well, I raise my glass of wine to them.

Not really much of a recipe today, more an acknowledgement that good food doesn’t need to be complicated or sophisticated. Ingredients, as long as they are fresh and good can produce the most incredible tasting meals with just a little effort and time invested. Oh yes, and love. Good food needs to be made with love.

Pasta with Tomato and anchovy sauce (4)

Lunch the other day was a homage to simple ingredients. Home made pappardelle (thick pasta as opposed to thin as the pasta cutting attachment on my machine has died, so I had to cut by hand) served with a (home grown vegetables) tomato and vegetable sauce with anchovies. Home made bread, dipped in our own olive oil and a glass of not home made wine. I’ll leave that to the experts!

Slow Cooked Vegetable Sauce with Anchovies (serves 2-4)

  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • Half a courgette (zucchini) coarsely grated
  • One carrot peeled and coarsely grated
  • One stick of celery, finely chopped
  • Half a red pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 1 cup (or can) or chopped tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning
  • Herbs (I used basil)
  • A small glass of red wine
  • About 4-6 fillets of salted anchovies

Hand Cut Pasta

Start by slowly braising the garlic, courgette, celery, carrot and pepper (but don’t brown them) until they start to soften. Add the tomatoes, the purée, the wine and the herbs and bring to a gentle simmer. Season lightly and cook slowly for about an hour (or longer). If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of water. When nearly ready, remove the herbs if you have kept them whole and stir in the anchovies (leave these out if you want a vegetarian dish). Check for seasoning (you probably won’t need more salt) and serve.

Pasta with Tomato and anchovy sauce (3)

Home Made Pasta

I use (per person as a main course) 100g strong plain flour, 1 egg, a tiny splash of olive oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Mix together by hand or in a machine and knead for a few minutes until the dough becomes soft and silky. Leave to rest for 30 minutes. Check out Chgo John’s excellent recipe for more tips and help.


51 thoughts on “Take One Bag of Flour

  1. This is my kind of meal! (Big surprise.) Once my tomatoes start ripening, I’ll have a variation of this dish at least once a week. I’ve always added the anchovies at the start of the cooking process but I like your idea of adding them much later. Like you, I add just a touch of oil and a pinch of salt to my pasta dough. Like your Mum, my Mom never did. 🙂
    Thanks, Tanya, for mentioning our pasta dough recipe.

    1. How funny that we both dared to meddle with the family recipe! Oh us youngsters (!) and our new fangled ways of doing things 😉 I often make sauce when I melt the anchovies at the start, nut this way gives you more of an anchovy “kick” which I like!

  2. Lovely! I often wonder about “firsts” – that first lobster, or that first coconut… happy there were such brave (or just hungry) folks. Mmmmm love this and your photos!

  3. I always wonder about those things too. Imagine all the people who tried food things out that were poisonous! Anyway, that pasta sounds delicious, you’ve got me wanting to go and open a can of anchovies right now 😉

  4. Made with love…eaten with Gusto! Did you know that you can make sourdough pasta? Give it a go, it might be delish. I haven’t tried it yet :). Your simple meal looks stunning and who would want to go out to a restaurant with grub like that at home! Kudos girl, you are making me hungry at 3.54am 🙂

      1. Damned RIGHT I do! There is always method in my madness and I figure that you can try it and tell me if it’s worth making :). Check out this recipe…

        or this…

        the last one is a collection of 12 sourdough pasta recipes, indeed this wonderful blog is all about bloggers that use sourdough and challenge themselves to make a specific recipe “their way” on a regular basis. You can download a PDF of each of their recipe challenges on the site for free. It might be interesting to you 🙂 Have fun and don’t forget to post the results! Remember, some of us (lazy sloths) are waiting on the results 😉

      2. Ooh they’re great sites. I’ve already spotted one I fancy doing with lemon and capers. Damn you – you’ve set me off down another path now 😉 I like your reasoning though – let someone else try it first 🙂

  5. I couldn’t agree more about simplicity in using a few prime ingredients to produce great food, your dish is testament to that. I had something very similar for supper, just pasta, roast veg and home made pesto, fits with your ethos. Thanks!

    1. Sounds like we had the same supper last night! But yes, it doesn’t always have to be expensive, hard to get ingredients. Sometimes a few simple ones can really shine!

  6. The anchovies do make that difference to a beautiful simple vegetable dish – I was married awhile to a very good cook, who taught me to add both anchovies and garlic late to almost every dish using them: still do and prefer 🙂 !

  7. Beautiful pasta, Tanya, such a savory slow-cooked sauce, love the anchovies, love the sun where you are (we’re a bit gray here) and think I’ll have a second of those small glasses of wine! 🙂

    1. Ah thank you Spree – the sun is a bit erratic here right now. One day cloud, one day not – a very weird summer! But the wine is always most reliable 🙂

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