Mad Emergency Spaghetti


Clam chowder was the plan—unfortunately, when it came time to get the chowder cooking, the clams were not the living creatures they had been when last we saw them.  They were demised.  Going out to a restaurant was not an option since there was freshly baked bread cooling on a rack.   I had to come up with dinner in a minute.   Although there was anxiety from some quarters, I was as calm as a Zen Buddhist monk.  When you keep your refrigerator and cupboard stocked with the basics, you will always eat well.


  • 1/2 pound thin spaghetti
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pieces of thick-sliced bacon, diced
  • olive oil
  • 14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs. capers, drained
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. pasta water, reserved
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Add a little olive oil to a large skillet and fry bacon until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels
  2. Add chopped onion and anchovey filets to skillet.  Add a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper to the onions.  Cook, stirring until onions are soft.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, capers and red pepper flakes.  Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the bacon back into the sauce.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  5. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 c. of the cooking water.  Add pasta to the skillet and turn heat to low setting.  Toss pasta with the sauce until well coated.  Add the reserved pasta water and continue tossing the pasta until you like the consistency of the sauce.  Turn off the heat and add the Parmesan cheese, toss again, sprinkle with parsely, and serve at once.

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