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Delicious Italian Spaghetti Recipe with Anchovy Sauce.

Updated on March 24, 2015

Basic Ingredients for Spaghetti with Anchovies

Ingredients for spaghetti with anchovy sauce.
Ingredients for spaghetti with anchovy sauce. | Source

Spaghetti with Anchovies Sauce

5 stars for Spaghetti with Anchovies Sauce

Basic ingredients!

Spaghetti with anchovy sauce like all simple, old fashioned Italian dishes, is essentially extremely economical and very delicious.

If your kitchen is stocked with basic Italian ingredients, you can put this tasty meal together in the time it takes to boil a pan of water (for the spaghetti)!

Once upon a time it was "poor man's food, but now it's "special- even for my family" says Gina.

Gina would know. About 60 years ago, along with thousands of other very poor people, she migrated to the suburbs of Rome from from the other side of Italy, from depressed Le Marche - driven by necessity and hard times- bringing her culinary traditions with her.

She and her family have made their small fortunes since then, built their own homes worked their way from being domestic helpers, gardeners, or builders to being the proud grandparents of offspring who are doctors, film costume designers and artisans (working with marble).

Spaghetti con le acciughe was once a necessary staple meal for Gina's family, and for those of her family she had to leave behind in Le Marche during those struggling- to-survive years. It was healthy; contained protein, vitamins and carbohydrates. It was simple to make on a small fire. It cost next to nothing.

It may prove to be a great staple for her new generation too. These are, once again hard economical times in Italy and everywhere. Nobody's job is safe. The old traditions of putting anchovies under oil are still going strong in Italy. In Gina's house, as in millions of Italian homes, the traditions don't die, ever. Hard times could always just around the corner. And if they aren't, well heck this food is just great.


Here is how she makes it.


2 packet of spaghetti

1 tin or glass jar of anchovies 45 grams.

Large handful of bread crumbs from yesterday's bread.

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, sliced+ chopped not too fine.

4 tablespoons grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.

handful of finely chopped parsley.

chopped pepperoncino (cilli) to taste.

salt to taste.

Put a large pan of water on to boil. (approx 5/6 pints).

It's a good idea to pull the ingredients out on your kitchen table.

Make sure you have everything.

Chop and grate.

Set the table.

You probably won't have the time after. This is really quick to make!!

The Anchovies in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The anchovies in oil
The anchovies in oil | Source

Buying Tin Anchovies

You don't have to have put the anchovies in oil yourself.

Note - (If you feel like making them though, you simply wash from salty in vinegary tap water, dry well in paper towels, place in layers in a clean dish with extra virgin olive oil, a little garlic and parsley. Cover with olive oil. Will last for months).


Finely chop the garlic and pepperoncino.

Finely chop the parsley,

Grate the cheese.

Crumble the bread.

In the bowl you will be serving your pasta in squash the anchovies into a paste with a fork till mushed up.


Your water is coming to the boil. Salt it.

When the water is on a rolling boil add the spaghetti. ( Look at the packet for the time it will take - between 8-10 minutes to cook. It MUST be aldente when you strained).

Put a large skillet on a moderately high flame. Add the olive oil.

When the olive oil is hot, toss in the garlic and the pepperoncino. (cilli)

Almost straight away, scrape the anchovy paste from the bowl and add to the garlic and mix without burning. (About 40 secs).

Add the bread crumbs.

Mix well for less than a minute.

Add the parsley.

When the spaghetti is cooked, quickly take a half cup of pasta water from the pan and set aside and

Strain the spaghetti. (into a nice clean sink)

Quickly pour the spaghetti into the skillet and mix the ingredients with a little of the water you have set aside. (You want it moist)

Add the grated parmesan and mix, mix, deftly mix.

Serve, (either from your skillet or from the nice nice warm pasta bowl you mushed your anchovies in)...

But please, don't waste time.

Buon apettito! Cheers Gina!

A tossed green salad would be perfect after this, something simple and fresh.

Gina's husband likes a glass of his own red plonk," something rough, not smooth", he says.

Buon Appetito!

Buon appetito!
Buon appetito! | Source

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© 2011 Penelope Hart


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    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 3 years ago from Rome, Italy

      That's the secret! Fresh parsley.

      Thanks for kind comment!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 3 years ago from Planet Earth

      This looks so good! We are having cooler weather here, so pasta recipes sound great right now. But then, I can eat spaghetti any day of the year - yum! I like the tip about using the parsley to offset the anchovy taste.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Hey Jamie!!! Come back again. Promise I'll make it for you.

    • profile image

      Jamie 5 years ago

      When you made this dish for me in October sitting outside in the garden I died and went to heaven! One of my favorite pasta dishes...may make fir breakfast when I wake up!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Buon appetito! Thanks for comments. It's a great pasta dish! The parsley at the end cuts how anchovy-anchovy it is.

    • Randy M. profile image

      Randy McLaughlin 5 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

      I may try this recipe with 1/2 the amount of anchovies and add a can of tuna. I'm not sure my family would like the strength of flavor with the full amount of anchovies. I will try it soon and get back to you. Voted up, I like your vigorous writing style.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      OK, buon appetito....and many thanks for reading my Hub.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Sound really good but like above hubber anchovies are too salty for me. My husband makes our speghetti sauce which is really good. Voted up and Insteresting.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thanks for popping by and for your vote...not sure what else you could use...if you like garlic, it might be very nice with just that, tossed in the olive oil with the pepperoncino, then the fresh bread crumbs, without the anchovies - and use lots more chopped fine parsley and a little bit more cheese. You could try and let me know! Might be very nice actually. (As long as you work quickly and pour some of that hot water on as you pour in the cheese!...makes it really saucy and VERY tasty).

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 6 years ago from Western NC

      Do you have recommendations if you don't like anchovies? This is a beautiful hub, though! Voted up and awesome. :)