Ryan’s notes

Shallot anchovy pasta

Alison Roman's famous Caramelized Shallot Pasta Recipe

  • Anchovies the one exception to my vegetarian diet; they pack so much flavor (but use capers, kalamata olive tapenade, and/or sun-dried tomatoes instead if you'd like)

  • Chopped garlic, sliced garlic... who cares? Pick one and it's fine.

  • Fresh pasta is 10x better than dried pasta, and buccatini is the best for this. Speghetti next best. Adding a bit of starchy pasta water is critical.

  • I sometimes add a can of crushed or diced tomatoes to make it less epically intense, plus it adds volume and therefore lasts longer!


  • 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 ½ to ¾ 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.

Another variation from Luke's family (untested):

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