‘midnight pasta’ with garlic, anchovy, capers, peperoncino

We’ve enjoyed this several times before, probably four since I began this blog, and it’s always a pleasure to sit down to, even more so for the cook, if he’s been busy or can’t come up with something more complicated, because it really asks so little.

I already knew about the ‘recipe’ and the tradition of guys cooking late at night that’s associated with it*, and I had already been assembling its ilk for years when I cut a printed version of it, by David Tanis, out of the ‘Dining’ section of the New York Times back in 2011.  The article’s titillating headline read, “At the End of the Night, Satisfaction“.  In fact, there may be an almost infinite number of variations to this meal, and most of them are likely to be equally seductive.

I don’t usually include a cheese; that might make it too sexy.


* actually, the recipe normally described as the only thing Italian bachelors know how to make for themselves is Spaghetti Aglio e Olio


  • two thick stems of sliced spring garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm heated in a third of a cup of olive oil over a medium flame inside a large vintage copper pot until softened but not browned, 4 salted anchovies from Buon Italia, well-rinsed, added to the pan and mashed with a wooden spoon, followed by a tablespoon of Sicilian salted capers, rinsed and drained, and half a teaspoon Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza‘s excellent red pepper flakes, the mix cooked for only one minute, the heat turned off until half a pound of pasta (Afeltra 100% grano italiano spaghetti, produced in Gragnano, from Eataly Flatiron), boiled only until still pretty firmly al dente, was mixed in along with, gradually, over half a cup of the reserved pasta water, the contents of the pot stirred over medium heat for another minute or two while the liquid was both emulsified and slightly reduced, then at least 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley from Phillips Farm were added and mixed in before the pasta was arranged in 2 shallow bowls and sprinkled more parsley, with a bit of olive oil drizzled around the circumference
  • the wine was an Italian (Campania) white, Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina 2016, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was the album, ‘Joan Tower: Instrumental Music’