This was a favorite in our house when I was growing up, and the following recipe is not very different from one my mother included in her first cookbook, The Classic Italian Cookbook. We used to call it “fake” clam sauce because it’s actually made with anchovies, although it tastes remarkably like clam sauce.
Total time: 45 minutes
2poundsfresh ripe tomatoesor3cupscanned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1 small clovegarlic
3 to 4sprigsflat-leaf Italian parsley5anchovy fillets
If using fresh tomatoes, peel them. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop enough of the parsley leaves to measure 1tablespoon.
Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 6quarts water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
Chop the anchovy fillets and put them in a medium skillet with 3tablespoons of the olive oil. Place over medium-high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the anchovies are dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and season with salt. Cook until the tomatoes are reduced and no longer watery, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add 2tablespoons salt to the boiling water, put in the spaghettini, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente, then drain it well. Toss the pasta with the sauce and remaining 1tablespoon olive oil. Serve at once.