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Gemelli with Anchovies, Tomatoes and Mascarpone

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

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.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

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.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Gemelli
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 2

Metric Cups
  • 175 grams gemelli pasta
  • salt (for pasta water)
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon regular olive oil
  • 6 anchovy fillets (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 150 grams cherry tomatoes (halved across the equator)
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons dry white vermouth
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon Parmesan cheese (finely grated, plus more to serve)
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons fresh flatleaf parsley (finely chopped leaves, plus more to serve)
  • 6 ounces gemelli pasta
  • salt (for pasta water)
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon regular olive oil
  • 6 anchovy fillets (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes (halved across the equator)
  • ¼ cup dry white vermouth
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon Parmesan cheese (finely grated, plus more to serve)
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons fresh italian parsley (finely chopped leaves, plus more to serve)

Method

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
It is not advisable to make ahead/store.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
It is not advisable to make ahead/store.

Tell us what you think

What 25 Others have said

  • It's all about umami! This one's a keeper! Thanks, Nigella for another winning recipe!

    Posted by sancarloscharlie on 27th January 2022
  • We love this recipe it’s so so tasty it’s got all the ingredients in it that we love, infact we probably have it a couple of times a month. My tip is try it I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

    Posted by YdniL on 27th January 2022
  • Man alive, I love this!

    I'm a convert to anchovies - I should have been braver and tried them years ago. But no matter! I can be evangelical about them now.

    I now eat this on a regular basis, so I swap the mascarpone for low fat creme fraiche.

    Posted by Chairman_Miaow on 17th November 2021
  • Oh myyyyyyy! This is incredible! Just when you think you've completed every variation of pasta dish, Nigella once again proves you wrong! I made a few tweaks - added half a pack of smoked diced pancetta because we're a meaty household, I also subbed low fat cream cheese for the mascarpone because mascarpone calories make me nervous. Doubled the garlic because I just do that with everything, and used cheapo red fortified wine because that's all I had. It turned out better than any restaurant pasta dish I've ever had. I think using top quality egg gemelli (on a special buy from that well known middle aisle supermarket) and grinding a hefty amount of black pepper onto it took it up to elite level.

    Posted by LT123 on 9th November 2021
  • So insanely good, and so easy. I've made it twice since seeing it on the show. I used a splash of white wine rather than 'VER-mith' only because I didn't have any. Phenomenal!

    Posted by Kim_V on 3rd November 2021
  • Wonderfully indulgent yet beautifully simple supper. Thank you, Nigella. No gemelli but the Waitrose No 1 Fusilli Bucati was an excellent substitute!

    Posted by PdeCW on 17th February 2021
  • This Recipe is absolutely delicious. I have done this for my lunch today. Fantastic. Thanks Nigella.

    Posted by Sedona on 16th February 2021
  • This definitely follows the mantra of "minimum effort; maximum pleasure" and has become my current Favourite Thing. Even without the Parmesan, this works (can't stand the stuff!).

    Posted by stevebrittain on 5th September 2020
  • This is an easy and flavorful dish. I know some people hate even the word “anchovy”, but here they are sautéed and melt into other ingredients and offer salinity instead of a fishy odor. I do like to serve this as a completely different take on mac and cheese, so add almost twice the amount of mascarpone and a little more vermouth. To offset this, I add an additional anchovy. I never tell people there are anchovies in it and I rarely have any left.

    Posted by Rossbeigh on 13th August 2020
  • Easy and incredibly tasty.

    Posted by hilsisme on 7th March 2020
  • I cook this every few weeks. It is DELICIOUS however I have made a few changes to suit store cupboard ingredients. Instead of fresh tomatoes, a tin of chopped tomatoes and I omit the Parmesan because it is rich enough without it.

    Posted by PANDASNACKS on 11th December 2019
  • SO simple, SO tasty

    Posted by AnnBritt on 22nd August 2019
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