Thursday, April 1, 2010

Seoul Cooking: Tomato sauce with anchovies and celery leaves

Since we're on Easter break, I'm at home for the day and didn't feel like going grocery shopping. With the remaining can of stewed tomatoes left in our pantry, I decided to make some pasta sauce for lunch. At the last minute, I threw in some of the leaves of the celery that we bought around Daelim station this past Sunday before they went off.

The result might be considered the Italian-Chinese cousin of my gochu chamchi spaghetti sauce. The celery leaves and lemon, both last minute additions, melded with the other ingredients to create a vibrant, tangy sauce that offset the saltiness of the anchovies (and even though I did add salt to this, you certainly don't need to). "Zesty" would also be an apt (albeit overused) descriptor. It was not unlike the spaghetti puttanesca that I had at l'atelier doux in Gangnam earlier this week.

Tomato sauce with anchovies and celery leaves

1 can (28 oz) stewed tomatoes, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic
1 medium-large onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 small or one large celery stalk, minced
1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets, finely chopped - Being a salt fiend/anchovy lover, I used the whole can, but you could just as easily use half or three quarters of the can
3 generous handfuls celery leaves, chopped
lemon zest, 1/4 of a lemon
2-3 generous squeezes of fresh lemon juice
red pepper flakes (I used gochukaru), to taste
ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Then add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is soft and the garlic starts to brown (I like that toasted flavor). Add the chopped celery during the last few minutes of cooking the garlic-onion mixture. Next, add the tomatoes, anchovy, hot pepper flakes and black pepper. Simmer until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put a large saucepan of water on to boil. When the water boils, add your pasta of choice and cook until al dente; drain and set aside. If the sauce isn't finished yet, mix the cooked pasta with a little olive oil so it doesn't stick together. When the sauce has thickened, add the celery leaves, stir, and cook for a few minutes until the flavors start blending. Finally, stir in the lemon zest and juice. To serve, toss the pasta with the sauce until coated and top with remaining sauce. Makes approximately 4-5 servings (depending on how saucy you like your pasta).


I was so excited to share this that I started writing this entry before I was finished eating it!

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