anchovy pasta recipes

Of all of the tremendous easy conventional Southern Italian pasta recipes I do know, this anchovy pasta recipe from Naples is without doubt one of the greatest! Recognized domestically as spaghetti alla Gennaro, this recipe holds a particular place within the hearts of the Neapolitans as a result of it’s named after the town’s patron saint! Simple and easy to do, all you want is spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, stale bread, oregano, and basil to make this model of midnight pasta, often known as Totò’s pasta.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)
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Spaghetti alla Gennaro.

The Southern Italians are masters at making simple pasta recipes with just some native elements. Spaghetti with tomato sauce, aglio e olio, and puttanesca are some that come to thoughts! Spaghetti alla Gennaro falls in the identical class.

With a handful of staple elements, you possibly can have this conventional Neapolitan pasta dish on the desk very quickly. Nevertheless, this anchovy pasta recipe is more than only an easy dish for the folks of Naples.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)
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Firstly, this recipe is known as after the town’s principal patron saint. According to Wikipedia, St. Gennaro, often known as Janarius I of Benevento, was the bishop of Benevento and a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church. Yearly, the Neapolitans collect 3 instances in Naples Cathedral to witness the liquefaction of what’s stated to be the saint’s blood inside an ampoule!

anchovy pasta recipes
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La ricetta di Totò ( Totò’s recipe).

I wasn’t in a position to uncover why Neapolitans named this anchovy pasta after their patron saint. Nevertheless, that is the dish that’s historically eaten in Naples on St Gennaro’s feast day, September 19.

Curiously, this recipe can also be related to one of many metropolis’s most well-known sons; the actor, comic, screenwriter, singer, and lyricist Totò. Totò, whose actual title was Antonio Griffo Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno Porfirogenito Gagliardi de Curtis di Bisanzio, is taken into account as one of the good comedian actors of the 20th century.

Ingredients for spaghetti alla Gennaro on wood work surface
The first step Collect your elements; spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, basil, oregano, bread, and olive oil.

Toto’s actress daughter Liliana de Curtis, who died earlier this year, included the recipe for spaghetti alla Gennaro in her 2001 cookbook ‘Liver Right Here, liver there, Fried Liver and salt cod’, a set of recipes from her father’s kitchen.

The actor was additionally a wonderful chef, who loved to prepare dinner with the recipes that his mom had taught him, and which he had written down with notes, jokes comedians,s and severe recommendations in a pocketbook that’s the foundation of his daughter’s assortment.

Pieces of anchovies in white bowl, Bread cubes on white plate and dried oregano in small white bowl.
Step 2 Put together the elements.

Anchovy pasta alla Gennaro or spaghetti alla Gennaro is a dish talked about in plenty of instances in several of Totò’s movies. For many Neapolitans, it’s THE recipe that involves thoughts once they consider their favorite pasta recipe. In reality, should you search Italian websites for ‘Totò’s pasta’ the one search result is this recipe, although the ebook consists of different pasta dishes?

Homemade fried croutons in skillet.
Step 3 Fry the croutons in olive oil and garlic till golden and crispy. Take away from the pan and put aside.

Midnight pasta.

Other than being named after Naples’ patron saint and related to the comic Totò, this spaghetti with anchovies can also be a favorite late-night time ‘midnight’ pasta. Though outdoors in Italy aglio, olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil, and pink chili spaghetti) is usually labeled as THE midnight pasta, right here in Italy there isn’t one recipe.

Pieces of anchovies and peeled garlic cloves in skillet with olive oil.
Step 4 Warmth extra olive oil after which add the remainder of the garlic cloves and items of anchovy.

In contrast to in lots of western cultures, late night time starvation or munchies isn’t glad by ordering takeaway in Italy. When Italians discover themselves up late with mates or household feeling hungry and maybe a bit worse for put on after an excessive amount of vino somebody will most likely say ‘Ce li facciamo due spaghetti?’, that means let’s make some spaghetti?

Pieces of anchovies melting in olive oil in skillet.
Step 5 Stir the anchovy within the sizzling oil till it begins to soften.

For a lot of, midnight pasta is aglio olio e peperoncino however there’s no onerous and quick rule. My Sicilian hubby typically makes his extra like a puttanesca. He likes to add olives, anchovies, and generally dried tomatoes.

Some folks add different herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and so on. Others desire canned tuna and tomato spaghetti or carbonara as their midnight meal. It’s all about what’s within the fridge or larder and what you’re feeling like!

Dried oregano in pan with anchovies and garlic.
Step 6 Add the dried oregano.

This spaghetti with anchovies all Gennaro is one other favorite selection for late-night time pasta or simply when there’s a necessity for a fast lunch or supper. The one further work on this recipe is homemade croutons however since many Italians have ready-made croutons within the larder, making them yourself isn’t essential. You too can use toasted breadcrumbs.

What sorts of anchovies are greatest in pasta?

Most Italians have anchovies in the larder or fridge. Nevertheless, in Italy, anchovies are known as both ‘alici’ and ‘acciughe’. The previous could be contemporary anchovies or those that were filleted and preserved in olive oil. The latter are preserved in salt. However, they’re the identical kind of fish.

Spaghetti from pasta makers Di Martino in Gragnano.
Step 7 Cook dinner the pasta al dente according to the directions on the packet.

With regards to including anchovies in pasta the most well-liked sorts are anchovy fillets preserved in oil or those preserved in salt which have been completely rinsed to take away most of the salt. My hubby likes the salted ones, I desire these in oil.

The wonderful factor about Italian anchovy pasta is that the anchovies soften while you sauté them in olive oil together with the opposite most important elements like garlic and herbs.

Just cooked spaghetti added to skillet with anchovies, oregano and garlic.
Step 8 Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the anchovies together with a bit of pasta cooking water.

Italians have long recognized what cooks overseas have solely lately found; anchovies don’t style fishy. When ‘melted’ in olive oil or a sauce they add a briny, savory umami flavor to any dish they’re utilized in.

Are anchovies wholesome?

Anchovies are very nutritious and have many nutritional vitamins and minerals that present main well-being advantages. They’re most commonly referred to as a supply of Omega-3 fatty acids and are loaded with protein. Also, anchovies are a wonderful supply of calcium, selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, potassium, and vitamin A!

Cooked spaghetti mixed with anchovies, garlic and oregano in skillet.
Step 9. Combine the spaghetti and anchovy sauce nicely.

For this spaghetti with anchovies, I used superb high-quality anchovies from Cantabria. Although you may get nice anchovies throughout Italy, these from the Cantabrian Sea off the coast of Spain are thought of as the most effective on the earth! They usually actually are so good. Nevertheless, you should use different sorts too, ideally preserved in olive oil.

Different elements in this anchovy pasta from Naples.

As I discussed earlier, spaghetti alla Gennaro is a straightforward dish made with a handful of elements. Other than the anchovies, all you want is garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, stale bread to make the croutons or breadcrumbs, and, after all the spaghetti. Some folks additionally add peperoncino however I didn’t.

Fried bread croutons in skillet with spaghetti and anchovies.
Step 10. Add a number of the croutons to the anchovy pasta and blend collectively.

The pasta.

Spaghetti is the pasta of selection for this recipe, though I think about it may be made with linguine or vermicelli. The spaghetti I used was made by Di Martino considered one of my favorite pasta makers from Gragnano. The latter is a city close to Naples that’s well-known for pasta manufacturing. In reality, they’ve been producing dried pasta there for more than 500 years.

spaghetti alla gennaro anchovy pasta from Naples in skillet ready to be served.
Lastly, add the remainder of the croutons and the contemporary basil to the anchovy pasta and serve instantly.

There are about 15 firms producing pasta with the Pasta di Gragnano IGP certification. IGP is an EU certification of origin that identifies a product made in a certain geographic space. Other than Di Martino; La Fabbrica della Pasta di Gragnano, Garofalo, Liguori, Gentile, Afeltra, and Pastificio dei Campi are among the many Gragnano pasta I do know can be found outdoors in Italy.

Making spaghetti alla Gennaro.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to have this anchovy pasta on the desk. So, step one is to place a pot of water on to boil for the pasta! Add salt as soon as it begins to boil and bring it to the boil once more. Then you have to peel the garlic and lower the anchovies into small items. Lastly, wash and pat dry the basil.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro) in oval white plate with fork.
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The following step is to make the croutons or toasted breadcrumbs. Rub the bread slices with a garlic clove after which lower them into croutons or break into small items. You too can use a meal processor to show the bread into breadcrumbs. However, don’t mix them too advantageous.

Warm some olive oil in a pan and fry the croutons or breadcrumbs till they’re barely brown. The breadcrumbs will probably be prepared quickly. Take away the bread and add some extra olive oil. As soon as this has heated add the remaining garlic cloves and anchovy items. Stir the anchovies till they soften into the oil.

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When the anchovies have melted, add the oregano and chili pepper flakes (if utilized). Cook dinner for a minute and take away from the warmth till the spaghetti is prepared. Cook dinner the spaghetti al dente, save a bit of cooking water, and drain it. If essential, reheat the anchovies and oregano after which take away the garlic and add the spaghetti with a bit of cooking water.

Lastly, combine the spaghetti to coat it within the sauce after which add some croutons or breadcrumbs. Combine once more and add the remaining croutons and a few contemporary basil items. Serve instantly while nonetheless sizzling.

Let me know what you suppose.

As you possibly can think about, this anchovy pasta is just not solely tremendously easy but additionally tremendously scrumptious. It’s an ideal quick weeknight recipe in addition to a late-night dish or midnight pasta should you ever need to feed surprising visitors or family and friends who got here for lunch and are nonetheless there at mealtime!

anchovy pasta recipe from Naples

Anchovy pasta recipe from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)

This anchovy pasta recipe from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro) is simple and easy to make. All you want is spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, stale bread, oregano, and basil to make this model of midnight pasta, often known as Totò’s pasta.

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook dinner Time 20 minutes

Course Foremost Course

Delicacies Italian, Mediterranean, Neapolitan, Southern Italian

Servings 4

Energy 549 kcal


  • 12.5 oz spaghetti (360g)
  • 6-8 anchovy fillets these preserved in oil.
  • 4 slices semi-stale bread The very best is nation or farmhouse bread.
  • 2-5 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 5 tbsp further virgin olive oil.
  • contemporary basil leaves washed and dried.


Put together elements

  • Peel the garlic cloves and lower 1 in half. Reduce the anchovy fillets into small items. wash and pat dry the basil leaves.
  • Put a pot of water onto boil for the spaghetti. Add salt as soon as it begins to boil and produce to the boil once more.
  • Rub the bread slices with the lower garlic and lower them into small cubes for croutons.

End and serve.

  • Cook dinner the spaghetti al dente in accordance with the directions on the packet. Save a bit of pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, and add it to the recent anchovy sauce with a bit of pasta cooking water (2-3 tbsps). The sauce could should be reheated earlier than the pasta.
  • Combine the spaghetti with the sauce after which add a number of the croutons. Combine once more after which add the remainder of the croutons and the contemporary basil is torn or lower into items. Serve instantly.

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