This is another one of my cheat-the-kids dishes. If I have my secret pasta sauce to bamboozle friends’ kids into eating vegetables, I made this pasta dish to cheat my 12-year-old daughter into eating tuyo which she absolutely loathed. There was an overnight school affair one time when breakfast on the second day consisted of fried tuyo, eggs and sinangag (fried rice). And she skipped breakfast. Sheesh. I told myself a solution would present itself somehow. And when I saw the jars of tuyo (dried salted herrings) in olive oil in the supermarket, I figured it might be the answer. I tell you, she ate this pasta dish without complaints. Of course, she did not know until afterwards what was in it.
This was actually the first dish I cooked with the jar of tuyo in olive oil. The second was the pinakbet without bagoong that I posted earlier. Like I said, my intention was to use tuyo much like Italians use anchovies in their cooking. With the way both this pasta and the pinakbet turned out, I am encouraged to use tuyo the next time I make pesto. That means pili nuts (instead of pine nuts), kalamansi (in lieu of lemon) juice, basil, garlic, pepper, olive oil and tuyo as a substitute for anchovies.
Pasta with tuyo (dried herring)
- 200 grams pasta
- 2 large white onions
- 1 whole garlic
- 4 to 5 pieces tuyo in olive oil drained
- 1/2 kilogram ripe plump tomatoes
- 2 bell peppers (I used green; you can use red but green is a good contrast to the red tomatoes)
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- ¼ to 1/3 cup olive oil you can use plain olive oil, the oil in the jar of tuyo or you can combine the two
- 3 tablespoons butter
- grated parmesan or romano cheese for garnish (optional)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
- While the pasta cooks, prepare the vegetables. Coarsely chop the onions, dice the tomatoes, peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the bell peppers into halves, remove the seeds, cut off the membranes, then coarsely chop. Chop the basil leaves as well. If fresh basil leaves are not available, substitute about one teaspoonful of dried basil.
- Flake the tuyo or chop them if you want them to be almost invisible.
- Heat the olive oil and butter together in a sauce pan. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes or just until the vegetables start to soften. Add the cooked pasta to the tuyo and vegetables and toss to coat the pasta evenly.
- Serve with grated cheese on the side.