Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Italian Traditional Spaghetti with Anchovy and Toasted Breadcrumbs

A simple poor origin dish of Italian traditional cuisine, Spaghetti con Acciughe e Pangrattato Tostato is a good way to use breadcrumbs, strictly toasted, instead of grated cheese. The anchovies are those in oil olive, they melt in hot oil in no time at all, all flavoured with toasted garlic cloves and chilli pepper. We used spelt spaghetti for personal taste.

Serves 2, Preparation 5 mins, Cooking 10-12 mins

  • Spaghetti, 180 g
  • Anchovy in olive oil, 4-5 fillets
  • 1 chilli pepper or a tsp of chilli flakes
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • A little salt
  • Breadcrumbs, to taste
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Oilve Oil, 3 tbsp


Since anchovies dissolve in a flash, better to start from water for the spaghetti and throw them in as soon as it boils. Little salt. While they are cooking, proceed with the seasoning.

Toast the breadcrumb as it is in a small pan, no need to add oil or butter, stirring well until it browns, set aside.

Heat 3 generous tablespoons of EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, toast garlic cloves along with chilli pepper or a teaspoon of chilli flakes.

Add anchovy fillets drained of their oil, there is no need to break them up because they will dissolve quickly.

Add a tablespoon or two of cooking water to make it creamier.

Drain spaghetti, add to the pan with the anchovy sauce, mix and let it flavoured.

Serve topped with toasted breadcrumbs.

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  1. This is something we make quite often! It reminds us of our time in Sicily, though I don’t know if it’s specific to that region only. But it is something that we consider comfort food, which is true for most of la cucina povera.

    1. I second that, I also consider it as comfort food, which is true for most of la cucina povera as you say.
      This is not only specific of Sicily but it’s surely specific of Southern Italy. In Puglia it is also made quite often for example, I remember how many Spaghetti con acciughe e pangrattato tostato I ate prepared in my apulian family.

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