A bit more anchovy pasta, please!

Easy lunch box ideas for kids: anchovy-Parmesan-breadcrumb pasta; lemon wedding cookies; chocolate-cherry soda bread; star fruit; and raspberries. http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com

There was a time when anchovies were an easy sell to Parker.

After all, they are little bombs of the umami flavor he and I love so much. He’d eat them right out of the can with me.

Then some sort of switch flipped in that crazy little 8-year-old brain. Suddenly they were yucky.

Since then, I’ve resorted to working them into foods without telling him. Which, of course, he loves.

That’s the beauty of anchovies. When you add them to a hot skillet with a bit of olive oil (some garlic is nice, too), they dissolve into nothing, leaving a rich flavor but nothing fishy.

One of my favorite simple dinners is to saute garlic and anchovies in olive oil and a dash of red pepper flakes. Add some chopped kale or broccoli rabe, then some cooked pasta and as much grated Parmesan as you can handle. Finish with some pepper and you have an amazing meal.

And you’d never know anchovies were involved.

Yesterday’s pasta dinner was along those lines. Garlic, anchovies and olive oil formed the base, then in went the pasta. But instead of greens, this time I tossed the now very savory pasta with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan. Delicious.

You could serve them topped with a simple fresh tomato sauce, but my little guy honestly hates tomatoes.

So leftovers of that made a fine start to lunch. To go with it, I added some lemon wedding cookies and a piece of chocolate-cherry soda bread (just because), as well as some fruit.

Tomorrow we leave for Miami. Thank goodness!

By the way, a couple week’s ago a few of you asked about the pear crisp I mentioned. That recipe was courtesy of Sara Moulton, who writes a healthy eating column for me. Here’s a link to that awesome recipe. Enjoy!

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4 Responses to “A bit more anchovy pasta, please!”

  1. Maria says:

    Question about the breadcrumbs: Do you toast them yourself, use panko or do you rely on the store-bought, seasoned kind? When I’ve tried adding breadcrumbs to pasta, I’ve found that the seasoned variety is too soft. Just wondering — would love to try!

    Also, I’ll be at SOBE, too, this weekend. Would love to meet in person!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      I keep a bag of homemade breadcrumbs, basically whatever bread goes stale… I just slice and toast it, then pulse it in the processor. Whenever I need breadcrumbs, I use either that or purchased panko. I almost never use seasoned breadcrumbs. I don’t like the flavor and — like you — find them too fine. Would love to see you at SOBE. I’m there Thurs-Sat.

  2. Anjali says:

    So glad I found your blog, Jason. (H mentioned it on Facebook.) I’m so sick of packing lunches every day for three kids– I can’t even tell you.

    Great news on the cookbook!