Caramelized Shallot & Tomato Pasta Sauce

Creating a pasta sauce from scratch is satisfying, and if you enjoy tangy tomatoes, salty anchovies, the heat of chillies and the sweetness of shallots, then this is for you.  It’s a recipe all about shallots and makes enough jammy paste for a double batch so you can enjoy it not only with pasta but also on fried chicken, in a chicken casserole or over roasted vegetables. Bonus!  

roasted vegetables



¼ cup olive oil

6 large Garlico shallots very thinly sliced

5 Garlico garlic cloves (4 thinly sliced, 1 finely chopped)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

Approximately12 anchovy fillets drained

¾ cup quality tomato paste

Dried spaghetti pasta (enough for 4)  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water from cooked pasta

1 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

Flaky sea salt (optional)


Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed or cast iron pan (a Dutch oven is perfect) over a medium high heat.  Add the shallots and thinly sliced garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Stir occasionally as the shallots cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until the shallots have softened and caramelised to a golden-brown.  Don’t panic if the edges geta fried look, this is okay.

Add the chilli flakes and anchovies (they will dissolve into the mix so don’t need to be chopped prior). Stir for about 2 minutes or until the anchovies have dispersed.

Add tomato paste and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly until the paste becomes a deep brick red colour, about two minutes.

Remove from the heat and put half the reduced mixture into a resealable container to be enjoyed with other meals.  Leave the other half in the pan.

Cook pasta according to the packet instructions until slightly firmer than al dente.

Transfer the pasta and 1 cup of pasta water to the shallot sauce mixture and cook over a medium-high heat using a wooden spoon or spatula to gently move the pasta so it’s coated with the reconstituted sauce.  

Cook until the pasta is thick, and sauce has reduced and is sticky about 3 to 5 minutes.

In a small bowl combine parley and finely chopped garlic, season with flaky salt and pepper.  Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and top with the parsley mix, and more chilli flakes if you like things hot!

Each batch serves 4.

If you aren’t an anchovy fan you can substitute olive tapenade or black garlic instead.  The olives have the saltiness required but as black garlic is mellow and sweet you will need to adjust seasoning to get the taste you enjoy.  

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Caramelized Shallot & Tomato Pasta Sauce