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What’s in your pantry? This easy pasta dish is what you need for those busy nights

J.M. Hirsch makes this roasted tomato and anchovy sauce from "Cook What You Have," a cookbook that helps you make a meal out of what’s in your pantry! #newdaynw

SEATTLE — You know how it goes. After a long day of schlepping kids, being at the office, or even working from home, you're faced with that question that's like nails on a chalkboard, "What's for dinner?"

Well, you may have a pantry full of stuff and no clue how to put it together, but no problem! In Milk Street's new book "Cook What You Have," each recipe starts with easy to find staples to transform meal time from stressful, to simple! 

Editorial director J.M. Hirsch joined the show to share just one recipe to save the day!

Pasta with Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Sauce

Recipe from "Cook What You Have" from Milk Street

5 minutes / Servings: 4 to 6

In this recipe, we cook the tomato-anchovy sauce in the oven rather than on the stovetop. It’s our pantry-centric adaptation of a dish we had at Osteria ai Promessi Sposi in Venice, Italy, where chef Claudio Furlanis roasts fresh tomatoes in a scorchingly hot oven before combining them with anchovies and pasta. To balance the acidity of canned tomatoes, we add a small measure of sugar. And when the pasta and sauce are combined, we toss in some butter — its smooth, sweet richness rounds out all the flavors 


  • 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes 
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 
  • 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets 
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar 
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 pound rigatoni OR penne rigate OR ziti 
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces 
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese, to serve 
  • Optional garnish: Torn fresh basil


  1. Heat the oven to 450ºF with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, toss together the tomatoes with juices, the garlic, anchovies, sugar, and pepper flakes. Drizzle with the oil, then roast, stirring once about halfway, until the mixture is browned at the edges and thickened, but still saucy, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain. Return the pasta to the pot. 
  3. Using a fork or potato masher, roughly mash the tomato mixture, then add it to the pasta along with ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water and the butter. Cook over medium, stirring, until the pasta is al dente and lightly sauced, about 3 minutes; add more cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed if the mixture looks dry. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the cheese.

Segment Producer Suzie Wiley. Watch New Day Northwest at 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.

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