Recipe Time: Healthy Pasta with…Anchovies!

I’m very surprised this is my first recipe entry, as food and health is something I spend a lot of time reading about.  Partly because I think much of the food/grocery industry is trying to kill us all (especially our kids), and partly because I’m obsessed with food and love any excuse to look at it and imagine eating it.

My family is, naturally, a group of picky eaters and we mostly don’t like the same stuff.  I’m a relapsed vegetarian who never eats red meat/pork and eat poultry rarely (organic only).  I also love bread and chocolate.  My husband is a steak and potatoes guy with a foodie edge. My son is a picky 3.5 year old who likes about two foods in the whole world (and NOT Mac & Cheese or grilled cheese or normal “kid” stuff). And my baby is…well…one.  He’ll eat most items, and gives me the most pleasure to cook for.

That said, cooking dinners (and lunches for the babe) are always a challenge – like it is for every mom. So, I’m really into one-dish dinners that cover all the bases. One such recipe I’ve used quite a bit is this Mark Bittman NY Times Pasta - it incorporates veggies (Arugula), protein (anchovies) and yummy/crowd friendly pasta.  Also, you can keep all of it on-hand in the pantry other than the greens. AND IT’S EASY AND QUICK! The link even includes a video.

Before you gag, keep in mind I never ate anchovies before either. But I kept hearing they were so good for you – protein, low fat, and they contain among the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids of any food. Omega-3 fatty are supposed to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer; lower your blood pressure and cholesterol; and even reduce period cramps! Also, they are a plentiful fish – so eating them doesn’t deplete our fragile environment.

Best of all, when you cook them this way – they break down completely, you don’t see any trace of fishiness in the final product; they just create a salty, flavorful sauce for the pasta.  I PROMISE IT’S NOT GROSS. See recipe below taken from the NY Times.  One important trick – I chop the arugula very finely beforehand so the kids don’t see long strands of green “leaves”, and then the bits are too small to pick out.  

Pasta With Anchovies and Arugula

  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and slivered
  • 8 anchovy fillets, or more to taste, with some of their oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups arugula
  • 1/2 pound linguine or other long pasta
  • Freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it.
  • 2. Put the oil in a deep skillet, and turn heat to medium. A minute later, add the garlic, and then the anchovies and red pepper flakes. When the garlic sizzles and the anchovies break up, turn the heat to its lowest setting.
  • 3. Cook the pasta until it is tender but not mushy. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid, and drain. Add pasta to skillet, along with enough reserved cooking water to make a sauce. Off the heat, combine the pasta with the greens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.


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