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

Pasta with burst cherry tomato sauce and fried caper crumbs

SERVED 4 to 6


Be sure to use cherry tomatoes; grape tomatoes will break down less and produce a drier sauce. Our topping adds crunch and depth, but you can substitute 1 cup (2 ounces) 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 and chopped

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

⅛ teaspoon of table salt

⅛ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry

2 pounds of 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 GARNISH : Heat oil in 10 inch skillet over medium heat until simmering. Add the capers and anchovy and cook, stirring frequently, until the capers have blackened and shrunk, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer caper mixture to a paper towel-lined plate; put aside. Leave the oil in the pan and return the pan to medium heat. Add panko, salt and pepper to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until panko is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the panko to a medium bowl. Stir in parsley, lemon zest and reserved caper mixture.

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

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

You can look previous episodes of America’s Test Kitchen on Passport WSKG.

For more information on WSKG Passportplease visit our support page.

To see more recipes from America’s Test Kitchen and other shows, visit Cooking with WSKG.

Photo Credit: America’s Test Kitchen