Anchovy Spaghetti

Recipes, such as, Cacio e pepe, Capellini and Clams and Spaghetti alla Carbonara, are what I call “Pantry Meals.” Even when the cupboards and frig are seemingly bare, just take a closer look. The ingredients to make a delicious and satisfying meal (apart from fresh parsley) are all pantry staples. Also, don’t let the anchovies turn you off, as they add such a subtle flavor as they melt into the sauce. (see Sicilian Pizza) As with Pasta con le Sarde, cheese is generally never added to any pasta dish that includes seafood.


  • 1 (2-ounce) Tin anchovy fillets
  • 8 Ounces spaghetti
  • 1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 Cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs, toasted
  1. Remove the anchovies from the oil. Discard the oil. Finely chop half of the fillets and cut the remaining half into four pieces. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta. Reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  3. Meanwhile, using a large skillet, heat olive oil, garlic, finely chopped anchovies, and red pepper flakes. Cook over low heat, stirring, until anchovies dissolve. Stir in parsley and remaining anchovies. Although I enjoy anchovies, I don’t add the remaining ones to the skillet, instead I add the cut anchovies as a garnish to those who want them. It’s the same way with Caesar salad. Anchovies add delicious flavor when incorporated into the dressing but, that doesn’t mean I necessarily want to “bite” into one. Turn off heat.
  4. When pasta is almost done, set aside 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain pasta and transfer to pan of anchovy sauce. Toss quickly until all the strands are well coated. Add some reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry. Toss in the bread crumbs. Plate, add remaining anchovies and serve immediately.





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