Don’t be afraid of the anchovy fillets in this dish; they add depth of flavor without any fishy taste. You may omit but try it and let us know what you think.
8 to 10 salt-packed anchovy fillets
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium red onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups Pomi strained tomatoes, or other pureed tomatoes, simmered until reduced by half
1 ½ to 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
1 pound penne
1 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and soaked overnight in cold water (change the water frequently)
1/3 cup pitted olives, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, for serving
Put the anchovies in a small bowl and set in the sink under a stream of cold running water for 20 minutes. Drain the anchovies, pat dry and coarsely chop them.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 3 tablespoons of kosher salt.
Meanwhile, combine the oil, onion, garlic, and anchovies in another large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the onion is lightly browned and the anchovies have broken down, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain, reserving ¾ cup of the pasta water.
Add the pasta and the reserved pasta water to the tomato mixture and stir and toss over medium heat until the pasta is well coated. Stir in the capers, olives, and parsley and serve immediately, with grated parmigiano on the side.