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America's Test Kitchen: Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce and Fried Caper Crumbs (Ep 2208)

Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce and Fried Caper Crumbs



Be sure to use cherry tomatoes; grape tomatoes won’t break down as much and will produce a drier sauce. Our topping contributes crunch and depth, but you can substitute 1 cup (2 ounces) of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. For a spicier dish, use the larger amount of red pepper flakes.



2    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼    cup capers, rinsed and patted dry

1     anchovy fillet, rinsed, patted dry & minced

½    cup panko breads crumbs

⅛    teaspoon table salt

⅛    teaspoon pepper

¼    cup minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

2  anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry

2  pounds cherry tomatoes

1 ½    teaspoons table salt, plus salt for cooking pasta

¼    teaspoon sugar

⅛ - ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

12 ounces penne rigate, orecchiette, campanelle, or other short pasta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces and chilled

1    cup fresh basil leaves, torn if large

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until shim- mering. Add capers and anchovy and cook, stirring frequently, until capers have darkened and shrunk, 3 to 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer caper mixture to paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Leave oil in skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Add panko, salt, and pepper to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until panko is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer panko to medium bowl. Stir in parsley, lemon zest, and reserved caper mixture.

2. FOR THE PASTA: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. While water is coming to boil, heat oil, garlic, and anchovies in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until anchovies break down and garlic is lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, and pepper f lakes to saucepan and stir to combine. Cover and increase heat to medium- high. Cook, without stirring, for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water. Cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Off heat, add butter and tomato mixture to pasta and stir gently until oil, butter, and tomato juices combine to form light sauce, about 15 seconds. Adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed, adding 2 tablespoons at a time. Stir in basil and season with salt to taste. Serve, passing topping separately.

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Photo Credit: America’s Test Kitchen