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Sicilian Anchovy Spaghetti recipe

Sicilian Anchovy Spaghetti recipe

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  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
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  • Spaghetti

If you like anchovies, this dish is for you. It's quick, easy and very tasty.

136 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 1 (500g) pack spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 100g (4 oz) dried breadcrumbs
  • handful chopped fresh parsley
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:5min ›Ready in:15min

  1. Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic and anchovies to cook for about 2 minutes; stir constantly.
  3. Stir in breadcrumbs and turn off heat. Add parsley and pepper; mix.
  4. Toss anchovy sauce with hot pasta and sprinkle with cheese; serve.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(128)

Reviews in English (97)

Used different ingredients.I added crushed cherry tomatoes to the oil/anchovy/garlic mix and sautéed gently until it became a delicious sauce. Didn't have bread crumbs and skipped the parmesan. Delicious and incredibly easy. Essential to use a good spaghetti.-19 Jan 2011

Very easy and delicious.-19 Jan 2011

by kikadee

I've made this about a dozen times in the last few months, so it's about time I posted a review! Markypost was right: You won't be wiping up oodles of sauce with your garlic bread when you make this dish--it's just not THAT kind of pasta. I agree with other reviewers that you'll need to add some more olive oil than the recipe calls for, or else it will tend to be "dry." I throw in a few red chili pepper flakes with the anchovy and garlic saute, for a bit of zing. Not everyone will agree with me, but I prefer to use panko (Japanese) bread crumbs, because they're a bit coarser, and then I like to fry them in the hot oil for a minute before turning off the heat and adding the parsley. I enjoy the slight crunchy texture this adds to the final product. Parmesan might make this dish too salty for some folks, but I can't imagine pasta without it, and that's why a huge handful of fresh parsley is so important--it cuts right through the salt and sort of lightens up the overall flavour. This tastes strong, but not fishy, makes an excellent side dish, cheap and easy to prepare, be brave and give it a try!-24 Apr 2007

Christmas Eve Sicilian Anchovy Pasta

When planning my Christmas Eve menu this year, I initially did not include a pasta dish. My late Father-in-law always felt that no meal was complete unless it contained pasta, and apparently, he passed on that trait to my husband. After bringing up the topic of adding a pasta dish to our holiday meal repeatedly, I finally broke down and considered it. In our family, it is traditional to have pasta with anchovies for Christmas Eve, so of course, that is the pasta my husband wanted. Not being an anchovy fan myself, I wondered if I could find a compromise and prepare some type of pasta that anchovy lovers and those of us not so fond of anchovies that we all would enjoy. I do use anchovies in my kitchen quite often, but usually, I use them in recipes where they meld in with the other ingredients and add an umami flavor, not a fishy one. Many other members of my family enjoy whole anchovies on their pizza or even Caesar salads, but I just find the taste of whole anchovies too fishy, and I do not care for the texture either.

I searched and searched, and came across this recipe online which included anchovies, but in a tomato sauce which sounded interesting. It also included raisins, Kalamata olives, and pine nuts which is typical of Sicilian cuisine. I had to make this pasta to taste before adding it to my menu, and I have to admit it was delicious and did not have a strong anchovy flavor. If I had to describe this pasta to anyone, I’d say it was similar to Pasta Puttanesca. Canned anchovies are used which break down during cooking melting into the sauce. If you do not like anchovies, don’t worry! The anchovies completely disintegrate and the sauce does not taste at all fishy. The pairing of sweet golden raisins and tangy black olives is unique and delicious.

I was thrilled that I found a recipe everyone in the family could enjoy, and I happily added it to my Christmas Eve menu. This pasta was a hit with everyone, and my husband happily ate leftovers for a couple of days later. This pasta dish will definitely be a regular on our pasta rotation, and best of all, apart from fresh parsley, the ingredients are all pantry ingredients you can keep available to make this quick and easy pasta dish anytime you are craving it! Be careful adding salt to this pasta as the anchovies and olives already are salty. Cheese is generally never added to any pasta dish that includes seafood, but if you must have cheese on your pasta, I’d suggest a light sprinkling of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele Revised 2020

Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Grate the bread on the large holes of a box grater (or pulse in a processor) to make ¾ cup coarse crumbs.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, tossing frequently, until light golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Add the spaghetti to the boiling water. Heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the anchovies and garlic, and cook until the anchovies dissolve into the oil and the garlic is golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peperoncino. Ladle in 2 cups of pasta cooking water and let simmer rapidly. Reduce to about 1 cup while the pasta cooks.

Once the pasta is al dente, remove with tongs and add to the sauce. Add the parsley and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding a little more pasta water if it seems dry. Add the bread crumbs and toss to mix.

Pasta with Cauliflower

Cauliflower grows abundantly in Sicily especially in the country-side around Palermo. The cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family, it is made of bunches of florets crowned at the base by green leaves. Although it looks very elegant, it has a very bland taste. This has been a challenge for chefs and housewives and it has moved them to create new dishes where the rich appearance of the cauliflower could be associated to the taste of local products which would produce food to be appreciated by their families or in the local eateries.

One of such dishes is the pasta with cauliflower sauce, a distinctive dish from Palermo. We call it “arriminata” meaning literally mixed, but for us Palermitani, the word means mixed with love and patience. In fact, the arriminatura, the mixing, is the most important part of this preparation, where a wooden spoon has to be used and the stirring has to be slow and steady.

When the pasta is combined with cauliflower, saffron, onions, salted anchovies, toasted pine nuts and raisins, the scent and the taste is overwhelming. The traditional type of pasta used is the perciatelli or bucatini which is thicker spaghetti with a hole. If it is unavailable use any other type of pasta handy in your pantry.

Foodie Worship: Rick’s Sicilian Spaghetti

Before I share my take on this recipe with you all, let me profess my travelling foodie crush on Rick Stein. If you haven’t fallen for his food inspired odysseys then you haven’t lived! This is by no means an exaggeration. It’s pure fact.

For years my family have fallen in love with Rick’s zeal for travel and food. Each story takes you somewhere new and suddenly your travel bucket list grows with each episode. His focus on local produce, traditions and experiences have driven my own travel. I’ve been to places and sort out food experiences I’d otherwise never known about.

While watching an episode of Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, for at least the 50th time, I was drawn to the simplicity of one of the peasant style spaghetti dishes he was enjoying over lunch. Luckily for me, the episode returns to Rick’s kitchen in England where he makes his own rendition of the simple tomato, caper, garlic, mint and parsley based sauce to toss through al denté spaghetti.

Exactly my kind of thing and PERFECT for using with the spaghetti gifted to me by San Remo Pasta recently.

Here I have created my own version of the same recipe. Double the recipe if you like more sauce. The beauty of this base sauce is that it works with everything. You can easily put your own twist on the dish, adding olives, chilli, basil, feta or pine nuts and even anchovies making it a puttanesca style sauce. This is definitely an essential recipe to add to anyone’s repertoire.

Another essential element of the recipe is that you really need to watch Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes: Sardinia and Sicily (Episode 2) before, while cooking or feasting on this dish.

It takes you straight to Palermo!

You will fall in love with the travel, food and stories just like I have. I guarantee it.

To purchase Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes is available on DVD, by clicking HERE

To grab a copy of Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes recipe book, click HERE

For more information on Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes series click HERE to go to his website which has plenty of information about Rick, his various TV Travel series, his restaurants and food inspiration.

Recipe adapted from a Rick Stein creation.

1 packet of San Remo spaghetti

4-6 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and roughly chopped

4-5 packets of ripe baby truss tomatoes (or 5 punnets of ripe cherry tomatoes)

Sea salt and cracked pepper

1 small jar of baby capers (more or less depending on preference)

1 cup mint, roughly chopped

1 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

You will need a pot big enough for boiling your spaghetti, and a frying pan to make the sauce.

1. While waiting for a pot of salted water to boil (for spaghetti), prepare the garlic, capers, mint and parsley. Halve the truss tomatoes, squeezing the seeds into a bowl (disguard seeds) and roughly chopping the tomatoes.

2. Once all ingredients are prepared the pasta water should also be boiling. Add the spaghetti stirring occasionally to avoid it sticking to the base of the pot. The pasta will take 7-8 minute to cook till it is al dente (to the tooth), which is perfect for making the sauce at the same time. As you add the spaghetti to the pot of boiling water place a fry pan over a medium high heat and add a good drizzle of olive oil. When heated add the garlic and toss until aromatic.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook down for a minute or two.

Season the tomatoes to taste with sea salt and dressing ground black pepper.

When the tomatoes begin to break down and create a sauce, add the capers and stir together.

Next use a ladle to add a small amount of pasta water.

Toss through till absorbed and add a second small amount of pasta water to the sauce.

Toss together again until absorbed.

4. By now the pasta should be perfectly cooked. Remove it from the heat and strain.

5. Turn off the heat to the pan for the sauce. Add the mint and parsley, tossing to combine.

Top with the spaghetti and toss to combine.

Fill bowls with the spaghetti and top with shaved pecorino and a small drizzle of extra olive oil.

Being a Sicilian pasta dish, why not aim to pair it with a Sicilian variety of wine. Being a tomato based pasta, yet also one that’s light and fresh this will work with either red or white wine. That way you can choose your wine to suit the weather, time of day or your taste.

Sicilian red wine varietals to keep an eye out for include Nero D’Avola, Syrah, Etna Rosso and Cerasuolo di Vittoria. The main local white wine to look out for is the Bianco D’Alcamo.

If you can’t source any of these Italian imports look out for a light red, such as a Sangiovese or a dry white like a Verdehlo to enjoy with this delish spaghetti.

This recipe was created using gifted products from San Remo Pasta. Tipple & Fodder only uses gifted or sponsored products when the quality reflects the standard of food I would usually choose to use in my recipes.

Key ingredients:

  • Sardines: We recommend using boneless, skinless sardines packed in olive oil. When you choose good quality sardines, they have a clean, subtle fish flavor much like albacore tuna (see shopping tips below).
  • Homemade breadcrumbs: Coarsely chopped, homemade breadcrumbs are best for this dish because they stay crispy after being tossed with the other ingredients. Panko can be substituted in a pinch.
  • Sautéed onion: Sweet onion, chopped and sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil until lightly caramelized adds an overall sweetness to the dish that provides a nice balance for the other ingredients.
  • Capers: While not essential, we think capers add a deliciously briny quality to this dish that complements both the sardines and the lemon beautifully, but no worries if you’re not a fan – just leave them out.
  • Lemon zest: The flavor of freshly grated lemon zest is the perfect balance for the sweetness of the sautéed onion.
  • Parsley: A handful of fresh parsley added toward the end of cooking always adds a bright note that can’t be duplicated with dried herbs.

Sicilian Anchovy Spaghetti recipe - Recipes

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Sicilian Spaghetti Recipe
olive oil, pepper, parsley, garlic, anchovy, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, pasta
If you love anchovies and pasta, this recipe is for you. It's quick, easy and very tasty. Serve with crusty Italian bread, if desired.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add past.

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Spaghetti with Broccoli Sicilian-style

Spaghetti with Broccoli Sicilian-style, a pasta dish that will transport you to Southern Italy, in the specific to Sicily, and will awaken all your senses with those hints of saffron, anchovies, raisins, pine nuts, and toasted breadcrumbs. A symphony on the plate.

Song of the day: Bon Appétit, by Katy Perry.

If you ask me which is my favorite type of pasta, I do not have to think about it much. Spaghetti is my answer. I could eat spaghetti anyway and anytime, and you'll see me twirling those beautiful strands around my fork with such a mastery like only years and years of practice can develop.

Spaghetti marries well with a lot of different sauces, red, white, meaty or vegetarian, from the simple but tasty Tomato Basil sauce, to my beloved Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (garlic, oil, and chili flakes), or the flavorful Ragu' Bolognese, or the classic Roman dishes Carbonara and Matriciana. There is a spaghetti recipe for every taste, the important thing is to cook them properly, in plenty of salted boiling water, not to cut them in half, and cook them al dente. And to respect the Italian tradition do not consider them a side dish or to accompany a protein. Spaghetti are a course on its own, a primo piatto (first course) in an Italian meal.

Pasta is my go-to meal of choice and more often than not, my only course. Therefore, a dish like this Spaghetti with broccoli Sicilian-style, with saffron, anchovies, raisins, pine nuts, and breadcrumbs is complete for me, a one meal deal. And I do not need anything else.

Spaghetti with Broccoli, a taste of Sicily on the plate.

The island’s dishes are more adventurous than the ones to be found in the rest of Italy. They are usually spicier and sweeter than those of the mainland, and this dish is no exception. Among those flavors, there is an unmistakable Arab touch: the saffron, raisins, and pine nuts, that marry so well with the romanesco broccoli, and that touch of saltiness, the umami, brought by the anchovy fillets. On top of it all, a generous sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs, that are meant to mimic Parmigiano in this dish that is another example of the "poor kitchen" (cucina povera). A dish that is poor by no means, instead, it is rich in texture and flavor.

Of course, as many Italian dishes, there are variations to the recipe. For example, they say you can substitute the anchovies with a splash of tomato paste which will provide that same "saltiness" (and in this case, it will turn this pasta into a vegan dish). Or you could substitute black olives for raisins, and bucatini in place of the spaghetti. As for the type of broccoli, every Region, in Italy, has its own variety and in Sicily, they use the green broccoli, or the cauliflower to make this pasta dish and the green broccoli is a bit different than this Romanesco broccoli that we used here. This type has more texture and a stronger, more robust flavor, which marries well with the compilation of flavors found in this dish.

All in all, an amazing pasta dish that will tantalize your taste buds, as well as all taking you on a joy ride of all your senses.

I have been to Sicily a few times, on what I call "my previous life". Summers spent in beautiful towns, seaside or historic, archaeological sites spread across the island, and the food has its own characteristics changing from the inland to the coast. Food that is always rich and aromatic, both in the savory and sweet indulgences. This dish is typical of Palermo and the area and it is called pasta “chi vrocculi arriminati”.


Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil over high heat.

Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until barely tender.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and oil from the anchovy can in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute.

Add the anchovy filets and stir until they dissolve into paste, about 1 minute.

Into the skillet, stir in the tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano and red pepper, and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp turn pink and firm, about 3 minutes.

How To Make Sicilian Pasta with Cauliflower

Here is what I did to make this delightful Sicilian pasta recipe.

First thing is to gather all the ingredients.

To make the sauce, the first thing you do is cook up the cauliflower.

I happened to be lucky and found at my local fruit/veg market some fioretto. Fioretto is actually a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower. It happens to have a more delicate and sweet flavor than standard cauliflower. It even has small florets that you may find looks similar to broccoli. They aren’t easy to come across, so keep in mind, standard cauliflower is also great for this recipe!

You’re not cooking it until it’s mushy. It should be tender when you poke it with a fork. And keep in mind, it will cook up a little more with the rest of the ingredients in the sauté pan.

While the cauliflower is boiling, you could do some other steps.

While the cauliflower is cooking, prep the raisins by placing them in a small bowl and covering with warm water to plump them up.

In another small bowl, add the saffron and cover with 2 tablespoons of warm water.

In a small sauce pan, toast up the pine nuts.

When they are golden brown, set aside the pine nuts and add bread crumbs to same pan with a little olive oil and toast them up. Set the bread crumbs aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat up olive oil and begin by sautéing the onion and adding chopped anchovy fillets. The anchovies melt away with the onion and add a subtle kick of umami (salty flavor).

To that you add in the raisins (drained) and the toasted pine nuts (I left mine whole, but feel to chop them into smaller pieces).

Next, add in the cauliflower and saffron (with its liquid)and stir everything and let it simmer for just a few minutes while the pasta cooks.

Drain the pasta and add it in to the pan with the cauliflower sauce ingredients and some reserved pasta water.

The pasta gets plated up and the final addition is a sprinkling of the toasted bread crumbs. And of course, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.