Quick, simple and – much as I hate the word – tasty. I know no self-respecting Italian would let tomato seeds sully a sauce, but I do so very happily, and it’s the gloop inside the halved cherry tomatoes that adds cohesion to the spicy, tangy creaminess.
Gemelli – which means twins in Italian – are a robust short pasta shape, formed out of what looks like two sturdy strings twisted together but are in fact made out of a single rope of pasta, doubled back on itself like a helicoidal twist. If you can’t find them – though they’re very much worth seeking out – then substitute casarecce or, easier still, fusilli.
Gemelli with Anchovies, Tomato and Mascarpone
- 175g gemelli pasta
- salt, for pasta water
- 1 tbsp regular olive oil
- 6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
- ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 150g cherry tomatoes, halved across the equator
- 4 tbsp (60ml) dry white vermouth
- 2 tbsp mascarpone
- 1 tbsp Parmesan, finely grated, plus more to serve
- 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more to serve
Put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta. (Although you don’t need to start cooking your sauce till the pasta’s in, I’d get everything ready for it while you wait.) Once it’s come to the boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Check the pasta packet for advised cooking times, but do start tasting a good 2 minutes before you’re told it should be ready.
Once the pasta is in, put the oil and finely chopped anchovies into a heavy-based wok, or other capacious pan, and cook, stirring over a medium heat for about a minute, or until the anchovies have almost dissolved into the oil. Stir in the garlic and chilli flakes, then turn the heat up a little and tumble in the tomatoes, stirring them gently for about 2 minutes, or until they are beginning to soften.
Pour in the vermouth, let it bubble up, then stir and push the tomatoes about in the pan for around another 2 minutes until they have broken down a little in the thickened, reduced, now orange-tinted liquid. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the mascarpone and, when it’s all melted into the sauce, duly stir in the Parmesan and parsley.
Before you drain the pasta, lower in a cup to remove some of the cooking water. Or use a mesh ladle or pasta claw to transfer the gemelli directly. Add a tablespoon or so of the cooking water to the pasta sauce; this will help the sauce coat the pasta. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce and toss well to mix, adding more of the pasta cooking water if needed. Sprinkle with a little parsley and take the Parmesan to the table to serve.