Recipe: Greyhound Café's Spaghetti with Thai Anchovy

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Photo by Jarrett Wrisley


Note: This recipe has been tweaked (by me) a bit, and you should also adjust it as you see fit. I replaced 'Thai anchovies' with Mediterranean ones, as I thought it might prove difficult to find that ingredient elsewhere. It worked beautifully.

Chili oil or dried chili flakes both work fine in this recipe, and if you can't find fresh green peppercorns, plenty of ground black pepper would also be nice.

Here you have a spaghetti dish that is treated much like an Asian fried noodle dish, and that's what makes it interesting. It's very fast, very simple, and with some practice the results are superb.

Make sure you cook your spaghetti before you start the sauce, and drizzle with some oil as it rests so it doesn't stick together.

This recipe is for two servings, as that's the most you'll want to fry at once in a frying pan or (preferably) a wok.

    • 4 or 5 tablespoons of olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon of chilli oil, or fresh red chili, or crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (it should taste assertively spicy)
    • 6 to 8 oil-packed anchovies, minced
    • 1 large ripe tomato, seeded, and diced finely
    • 4 cloves of garlic (or more!), minced
    • 20 to 30 Thai sweet basil leaves, picked and left whole
    • 2 tablespoons of fresh green peppercorns
    • 250 to 300g of uncooked spaghetti

Heat a wok over medium heat. Add olive oil and chili and cook until just about to smoke. Add garlic and cook, stirring quickly until fragrant (remove from heat if garlic starts to brown).

Add minced anchovy and cook, stirring, until it begins to dissolve in oil. Add peppercorns to oil and continue to fry for at least one minute.

Add diced tomato, keep on stirring and raise heat to high, and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the sauce as it reduces (2 mins).

Add COOKED spaghetti to sauce and stir-fry on high heat for one or two minutes. Remove from heat, add thai basil, and toss. Add some grated romano or parmesan if you like. I did and it was good.

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Jarrett Wrisley hails from Allentown, Pennsylvania. For the past seven years, he's been working as a writer in Asia, though he still dreams of greasy cheese steaks. More

Jarrett Wrisley hails from Allentown, Pennsylvania. For the past seven years, he's been working as a writer in Asia, though he still dreams of (and occasionally returns for) greasy cheese steaks. Jarrett's first trip to Asia came as a college student, when he traveled to Beijing to study Mandarin Chinese. He returned to China after graduation, and began writing about Chinese food in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. After a six-month stint in Chengdu, he moved on to Shanghai, where he worked as a food critic and magazine editor for four years before striking out on his own. After six years in China, he recently moved to Bangkok, where yellow-clad protesters immediately shut down the airport where he had just landed. Luckily for him, he couldn't leave—and now intends to stay. Jarrett is presently working on a series of modern Chinese cookbooks with Hong Kong chef Jereme Leung and writing features that focus on food and culture in Asia. He'll be bouncing around the region as much as possible and writing about things he encounters along the way. His blog trains an eye on food but addresses other cultural phenomena, tidbits of travel, and the oddball politics of East Asia.
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