Delightful Spaghetti: Anchovies and Crispy Crumbs

Indulging in the delightful spaghetti: Anchovies and crispy crumbs feels like being transported to an authentic Italian plaza. Beneath the sun’s rays, one can’t help but reminisce about Italy’s timeless culinary charm.

A Toast to Breadcrumbs in Pasta’s Rich History

Once upon a time, in Italy’s more austere days, crispy toasted breadcrumbs were an inventive alternative to the rich depth of grated cheese. Now, with easy access to abundant parmesan canisters, the infusion of golden, slightly oily breadcrumbs presents an indulgent twist to traditional dishes. Their crunchy texture, combined with the meticulous art of browning them, brings a delightful, unexpected layer to every bite.

Symphony of Bold Flavors

This pasta dish isn’t shy. It flaunts its audacious mix of ingredients, particularly the anchovies. Indeed, after using an entire can, the anchovy flavor was so sublime that even my father desired more! The marriage of briny capers, aromatic garlic, a hint of spicy red pepper flake, the refreshing touch of lemon zest, and a generous sprinkle of Parmigiano crowns this masterpiece. The sheer joy this pasta dish ignites is evident in the instinctive dance of satisfaction one might perform, even with eyes blissfully shut.

Treating your loved ones to this culinary delight ensures a memorable, heartwarming meal. Ready to embark on this flavorful journey?


  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (homemade is a real winner!)
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (180ml, portioned into ½ cup + ¼ cup or 120 ml +60 ml)
  • 1 pound delicate spaghetti or angel hair pasta (450g)
  • 1 head of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 oz. anchovies (adjust according to preference)
  • ½ cup capers (adjust based on anchovy content to ensure balanced saltiness)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (adjust as desired)
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (modify for heat intensity)
  • 1 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • Zest from one vibrant lemon
  • Grated parmesan cheese (for serving)


  1. Pulse stale bread in a food processor until you yield 2 cups of coarse breadcrumbs.
  2. In a pan, warm 1/2 cup of olive oil over a medium-low flame. Infuse breadcrumbs, stirring until they achieve a rich, dark toast. They should exude crunchiness. Set aside.
  3. Prepare pasta in salted water as per its instructions, aiming for an al dente texture.
  4. Concurrently, in another pan, heat up the remaining olive oil on medium-high. Introduce minced garlic, allowing it to reach a caramel hue. Incorporate the anchovies and their oil, mashing to form a thick, rustic paste.
  5. Introduce capers, cooking briefly. Blend in the perfectly al dente pasta, followed by black pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, and the zest of lemon. For those daring enough, add the chili flakes to the hot oil before the pasta, letting it permeate with spice. Conclude by folding in the toasted breadcrumbs.
  6. Serve promptly, graced with a shower of grated parmesan.

Incorporating breadcrumbs into pasta is not just about reimagining a dish; it’s a nod to history, resilience, and the ability of food to evolve, innovate, and always bring joy. By preparing and sharing this dish, you’re not only serving a meal but also sharing a slice of Italy’s rich culinary narrative. Buon appetito!

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