If you are tired of the red and cream sauce pastas, then try this one out, it really is a light and flavourful surprise. This is one of my favourite pastas, and we traditionally have it Christmas eve, or any day that has a sunrise.

Anchovy Pasta:

This recipe will make a serving for 2 - 4 people.
Once you get the hang of it, you will be cooking everything at the same time and eating in about 10 - 15 minutes, but the first time prepare the sauce first, then cook the pasta.


Extra Virgin olive oil
One 50 gram tin of anchovies (packed in olive oil)
10 to 12 capers
2 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of chilli pepper flakes and seeds (can be omitted)
2 tablespoons of bread crumbs
Any pasta will do, but the Vena tradition is to use a thin spaghetti, but not angel hair, which is too delicate.

Preparations Sauce:

  1. Chop the garlic very fine (only use a garlic press if you don't have the energy to chop by hand).
  2. Dry the capers with a paper towel then chop them into large pieces (don't make it like a mush)
  3. Chop the anchovies into large pieces, but keep the oil.
  4. Coat the bottom of a small sauce pan with about an eighth of an inch of extra virgin olive oil, put the chopped garlic, capers and chilli flakes in the olive oil and start to fry them at medium heat. (Resist the temptation to use high heat as you may burn the garlic as you sneeze from the chilli flakes).
  5. When the garlic starts to turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped anchovies with their own oil. Stir this combo off heat until the anchovies have disintegrated into a paste. If they still are in chunks, then put the pan back on the heat for a short short while and keep on stirring (remember to take it back off the heat or you will burn the anchovies).
  6. At this point, you take about two tablespoons of bread crumbs and add it to this mixture and stir it around until you can't tell the difference between the anchovies and the bread crumbs.

Tah dah, the sauce is done!!

Preparations Pasta:

  1. Cook your pasta (350 - 400 grams) in the conventional manner, be sure that you have plenty of water, and that the water is at full boil before adding the dry pasta.
  2. Go easy on the salt in the water as the sauce will contain a lot of flavour already.
  3. Set a timer for about 6 minutes, and try the pasta, if it feels a little 'al dente'( you should feel it between your teeth when you bite the noodle), then take it off the heat and drain it unless you want overcooked noodles.
  4. Put the pasta in a deep serving bowl, and add the sauce and stir the pasta until everything is coated. If the pasta looks a little dry you can just add a little fresh olive oil and stir.

( A little secret my mom taught me, Keep a little bit of pasta in the colander and stir that pasta in the sauce pan to get every last drop!!)

Serve the pasta family style with the bowl in the middle of the table, and have some freshly grated Parmesan cheese for those who desire it, but you should really try it without to really enjoy the subtle flavours of the anchovy sauce.

Buon Appetito


 Claudio Vena