Once again, a good reason to have a well-stocked pantry. I thought this was one of those standing-before-the-boxes-uninspired kind of lunches I like to make until I saw a similar recipe in the Silver Spoon Cookbook. Vindication! If it's good enough for an Italian housewife, it's good enough for me. This is a good recipe for the wintertime, since the bright Mediterranean flavors can trick you into thinking you're eating something fresh and summery, when you're really only having pickled things from tins. Don't be afraid of the anchovies; they melt right into the oil, creating a savory sauce with really none of the fishiness with which they are sometimes associated. I have used whole wheat pasta here, but you can use traditional bleached pasta as well. Preserved lemons are available in Mediterranean stores, or on the antipasti bar at some well-stocked grocery stores (I found them at whole foods); they have a strangely rich flavor not usually associated with lemons, and add a subtle flavor.
Spaghetti with Various Things from Tins and Jars - serves 2
4 ounces whole wheat or regular spaghetti, cooked in salted water and set aside
1 tbsp canola or other neutral oil
1 1oz tin anchovies
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup white wine
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 rind from preserved lemon, pulp discarded (optional)
6 ounces rock shrimp, optional
1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup mixed olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
salt and black pepper
Good extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces feta, crumbled
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the anchovies. Crush the anchovies with a wooden spoon and they will begin to disintegrate; when they are almost gone - about 3 minutes, add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and stir until evaporated, then add the lemon juice and zest, and the preserved lemon. Add the shrimp and cook until almost cooked through, then add the capers, olives and crushed red pepper. Taste to check for salt need, although many of these ingredients are salty enough; add a little black pepper.
Toss in the pasta, then top with the feta and drizzle with the olive oil. Serve with toast!