Caramelized Shallot Pasta

Charlotte and I were solo this week so I cooked some dishes that wouldn’t have been up Tim’s alley. Last night I finally tried “THE PASTA” from Alison Roman.

There is something magical about the cooking process of this dish. You start with SO MANY shallots and by the end you have this jammy concoction full of flavor — sweet from the shallots, some umami from the anchovies, and some tanginess from the tomato paste. When you add the pasta water and the pasta to the shallot mixture, you are left with a silky sauce. Really amazing.

I loved it. Charlotte thought she could taste the anchovies but not sure if that was more psychological than anything else! I have half the shallot jam (for lack of a better word) reserved and plan to use with some eggs or roasted veggies this weekend.

Caramelized Shallot Pasta
Alison Roman, NYT Cooking

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 large shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, 4 thinly sliced, 1 finely chopped
  •  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 (2-ounce) can anchovy fillets (about 12), drained
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) tube or (6-ounce) can of tomato paste (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
  • 10 ounces pasta
  • 1 cup parsley, leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
  •  Flaky sea salt
  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium high. Add shallots and thinly sliced garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots have become totally softened and caramelized with golden-brown fried edges, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Add red-pepper flakes and anchovies. (No need to chop the anchovies; they will dissolve on their own.) Stir to melt the anchovies into the shallots, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent any scorching, until the tomato paste has started to cook in the oil a bit, caramelizing at the edges and going from bright red to a deeper brick red color, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer about half the mixture to a resealable container, leaving the rest behind. (These are your leftovers to be used elsewhere: in another batch of pasta or smeared onto roasted vegetables, spooned over fried eggs or spread underneath crispy chicken thighs.)
  4. To serve, cook pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water until very al dente (perhaps more al dente than usual). Transfer to Dutch oven with remaining shallot mixture (or a skillet if you are using the leftover portion) and 1 cup pasta water. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the skillet to coat each piece of pasta, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any bits on the bottom, until pasta is thick and sauce has reduced and is sticky, but not saucy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, combine parsley and finely chopped garlic clove, and season with flaky salt and pepper. Divide pasta among bowls, or transfer to one large serving bowl, and top with parsley mixture and a bit more red-pepper flakes, if you like.

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