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White Anchovy & Caper Pasta Recipe



For all you anchovy haters, there’s a new catch in town! Well, not necessarily new but one you may not have tried. In Spain this white anchovy is called a boquerone, a mild, small white flesh with no bones filet marinated in olive oil and vinegar…nothing like the super salty brown ones in tins. Also, very popular here in Italy you’ll find the alici marinate in seafood markets and even in the deli section in supermarkets. Bonus-considered a superfood, very high in protein, Omega-oils and other vitamins and minerals.

Have them as an antipasti served lemon and crusty bread or make a delicious pasta with white anchovies. Preferably, always use Pasta di Gragnano, the best durum wheat comes from Gragnano, just south of Napoli. It also comes stamped with the blue and gold IGP seal guaranteeing its quality.

This pasta dish takes just minutes to prepare and is the perfect combination of savory, salty and spicy. Savory from the delicate anchovy, salt cured capers…see why they are best and a little kick of heat from the peperoncino. Buon appetito!



  • 1/2 lb or 250 grams spaghetti (di Gragnano)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 7 whole white anchovies, drained & roughly chopped – more to taste
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper flakes – more to taste
  • 2 tbsp salt-packed capers (rinsed)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • reserved pasta water


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Add the pasta and stir.
  2. In a large frying pan over med heat, add olive oil and sauté onions until translucent.
  3. Add the anchovies, capers, lemon juice and zest to the pan and continue sautéing until the pasta has cooked 2 minutes less than the package’s cooking instructions indicate for al dente. If you’ve timed everything correctly, the anchovies should be sautéed for just a few minutes before the pasta is ready.
  4. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water to pan and gently toss to evenly coat the pasta with the anchovy & oil mixture and until reduce 1 min. If too dry, add another 1/4 cup pasta water to create a creamy texture. Continue to sauté until the pasta is al dente, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  6. Plate and drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Buon appetito!
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