Pasta with Creamy Tomato Arugula Sauce

This sauce combines the wonderful spices of fennel seed and chilli with the umami of anchovy, acidity of tomato, and creaminess of mascarpone.  If you do not have arugula, you can substitute spinach.  Adapted from the River Cafe Cook Book Green.


  • several large handfuls of arugula, washed and roughly chopped (this reduces down when cooked, so add more than you think you need)
  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta (tagliatelle works well)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tin anchovies in olive oil, chopped, olive oil reserved
  • 2 t fennel seeds
  • 1 t red chilli flakes
  • 800 g chopped tomatoes (or 2 x 400 g cans)
  • 1/2 c mascarpone (use more if you want the sauce to be creamy)
  • parmesan cheese


  1. Gently heat the olive oil +anchovy oil in a thick-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.  Add garlic, anchovies, fennel seeds, and chilli, and cook for a few minutes, until the mixture is melted and the texture is uniform (like mush).
  2. Add tomatoes, stir to combine, and reduce heat to a simmer – cook for 20-25 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package instructions.
  4. A few minutes before the pasta is done, combine rocket with tomato mixture, and cook until rocket is wilted.
  5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in mascarpone – mix until incorporated, and sauce is to your desired creaminess.
  6. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

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