Food and drink

Spaghetti with olives, anchovies and capers

If you’re in a hurry but don’t fancy beans on toast, or something that goes ping, then spaghetti can provide a brilliant quick and easy meal. This dish is one of my favourites and uses a classic combination of anchovies, olives and capers that shows its face over and over in Italian cooking, especially in the south.

You can vary this recipe easily and swap the main ingredients for whatever you want. Chopped sausage or prawns work really well as does the addition of fresh chillies. This should only take 10 minutes to cook so no-one can say you don’t have time to cook a proper tea when it’s this easy!

Serves 2

4 anchovy fillets
Handful of olives
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
Olive oil
Small handful chopped parsley

Gently heat a large glug of olive oil in a pan and fry the anchovy fillets until they fall apart and melt into the oil.
Add the garlic, olives and capers until the garlic just starts to soften and fills your kitchen with the smell.
Take the pan off the heat and leave it to one side so the flavours infuse in the olive oil.
While that happens bring a pan of water to the boil, add a couple of large pinches of salt and cook the spaghetti until al dente (the spaghetti shouldn’t be completely soft, it should be just the other side of crunchy but still with a little bit of bite in it).
Once the spaghetti is done put the sauce back on the heat and splash in a spoonful of the cooking water from the pasta, then drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.
Throw in the parsley, season with black pepper, stir it all together and serve.

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