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  • Writer's pictureDavid

Spaghetti alle Acciughe - Pasta with Anchovies

Fresh, zingy, tasty, quick and really easy - and it's not fishy!

Many people avoid anchovies as they think there will be a very fishy taste; anchovies in pasta are salty and creamy - not fishy at all!

This dish is simple, and making it - including prep - takes as long as the pasta takes to cook.

The lemon and chilli give it a real zing (as the kids were saying in 1965), and it is quite simply delightful.

Spaghetti is the best pasta to use with this, and I've gone for No.5 - which is a thicker gauge.




anchovies - a small, flat tin

a lemon

a little chilli




Watch the video


  • Boil some salted water in a pan

  • Peel the garlic, and slice it paper thin - we want it to almost melt in the pan

  • De-seed the chilli and slice it finely

  • By now the water will most likely be boiling (depending on the heat of the water you used)

  • Add the spaghetti. You're cooking it for 2 minutes less than the packet says

  • Turn the heat down - you don't cook pasta at 100ºC

  • Zest the lemon, if you don't have a zester, use a grater. Finely chop the zest peel

  • Finely chop up the parsley

  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan

  • Add the garlic and let it soften

  • Add the anchovies and mash them down with a spoon: we want them to break up and melt into the mix

  • Add the chilli and lemon zest

  • Add the juice of the lemon

  • Stir it all through

  • When the pasta is 2 minutes from done, lift it from the pan (no need to drain it) and add it to the anchovy mix

  • Add a couple of ladles of pasta water and stir it about

  • Add the parsley

  • Serve with breadcrumbs or parmesan*

* I know you NEVER serve parmesan with fish pasta, but you do - with pasta tonno, and it's fine with this dish too.

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