Cookbook Profile

Pasta with Anchovies and Capers

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish


This dish makes a great dinner if you like anchovies. The addition of dried currants adds a subtle sweetness. Because good spaghetti takes about 13 minutes to cook, you can probably finish the sauce while the pasta is cooking. Italians generally don't use cheese on pasta dishes that include fish, but if you're not holding an Italian passport, you can toss a little grated Parmigiano on top. Either way, it's excellent.

1 tablespoon capers, preferably packed in salt
1-2 tablespoons coarse sea salt to taste
1/2 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon full-flavored extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon dried currants
1 cup coarsely chopped dandelion greens, arugula, or Swiss chard
1 2-inch square of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (optional)
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted (see page 31 of book)
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, preferably Marash (see page 58)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

If you're using salted capers, soak them in a bit of warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, changing the water halfway through. Drain the water, rinse the capers, and dry them on a paper towel.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and the pasta; stir well. Cook until almost al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 of the anchovy fillets and stir well. Add the currants and stir again. Add 3 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water, the greens, capers, and Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (if using) and stir well. Cook until the greens are slightly wilted. Add more pasta water if needed to keep the sauce properly soused.

Drain the pasta, add it to the pot with the sauce, and stir well.

Add the remaining 8 anchovies, the pine nuts, red pepper flakes, and a little more olive oil. Stir until the anchovies are heated through, being careful not to overcook and melt them.

Fish out the rind and serve in warm bowls with a generous grinding of black pepper on top and a little grated Parmigiano, if you like.


Buy the Book!


Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating
How to Choose the Best Bread, Cheeses, Olive Oil, Pasta,
Chocolate, and Much More

by Ari Weinzweig
Houghton Mifflin
Paperback; 512 pages
ISBN: 0395926165; $19.95
Hardcover; 512 pages
ISBN: 0618411089, $35.00
Recipe reprinted by permission.


Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating



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This page created March 2004