Saturday, July 20 2024

One of the dishes that an ancient Calabrian tradition wants to be cooked on Christmas Eve is pasta (long) with anchovies and breadcrumbs.

It is a poor dish born in the kitchens of those who could not afford to cook “rich” dishes during the holiday seasoned the pasta only with stale bread crumbs, anchovy fillets and the ever-present chili pepper!

A few ingredients that create a hearty and appetizing dish….

Today I propose a small variation of the original recipe, that is, with the addition of fresh anchovies.






  • 17 ounces spaghetti (or other long pasta)
  • 17 ounces fresh anchovies
  • 4 salted anchovies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • Parsley, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil



Clean the fresh anchovies by removing the head, tail, guts, and central bone and rinse them under running water.

In a frying pan put breadcrumbs (or bread crumbs), a drop of olive oil, a clove of garlic and chopped parsley and toast the breadcrumbs (be careful to turn off the heat and move the pan from the stove as soon as the breadcrumbs have browned).

Now fill a pot with water, add salt and as soon as it comes to a boil pour in the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan pour 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a clove of garlic, the chili pepper, and the anchovy fillets and sauté until the anchovies have “melted” in the oil.

At this point add the anchovy fillets and cook over a low flame, just a few minutes will be enough.

At the end of cooking add, in the pan with the anchovies, a few tablespoons of pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta, pour it into the pan with the anchovies and stir until the spaghetti is soaked in the sauce.

Plate and serve with a handful of toasted breadcrumbs.


Chopped garlic and parsley will give the breadcrumbs more flavor, but if you don’t like the intense flavor of garlic you can toast the breadcrumbs with just a drop of oil.

If, on the other hand, you are a lover of strong flavors, add a handful of pecorino cheese to the pasta.

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