The recipe comes from one of my go-to favorite cookbooks, by one of my favorite go-to chefs, Mark Bittman. The recipe is Pasta with Anchovies and Arugula and the book is The Minimalist Cooks Dinner
Pasta with Anchovies and Arugula
(makes 3 main-course to 6 first-course servings)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and silvered (I minced mine)
8 anchovy fillets, or more to taste, with some of their oil
2 cups trimmed arugula, washed, dried, and chopped (I didn't chop, though I should have)
1 pound linguine
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes
Heat water for the pasta. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil into a deep skillet, turn the heat to medium, and heat for a minute. Add the garlic and anchovies. When the garlic sizzles and anchovies break up, turn the heat to the minimum.
Salt the boiling pasta water and cook the pasta until is is tender but not mushy. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain. Add the pasta and the arugula to the skillet, along with enough of the reserved cooking water to make a sauce; turn the heat to medium and stir for a minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus a pinch or more of the red pepper flakes.
Turn into a bowl, toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and serve.
This was very good. The anchovies practically disappear, but yet they flavor the pasta thoroughly. As I was making this, I kept thinking, I'll add some cheese at the end..right before serving. But...and I can't believe these words are coming out of my mouth...it didn't need cheese. Yes, I, the firm believer in cheese on and in everything, did not think it needed cheese. It had that much flavor. And as an extra plus, it was so quick, perfect for a weeknight dinner. I literally had it on the table within 30 minutes of starting it. Unlike a certain well-known food network chef, whose recipes I can never, ever make in 30 minutes.
I served it with roasted cherry tomatoes, which we scooped onto toasted bread for an improptu bruschetta.