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Thursday, February 29, 2024
HomePastaAnchovy Pasta Recipe from Naples – The Pasta Challenge

Anchovy Pasta Recipe from Naples – The Pasta Challenge

Of all of the tremendous easy conventional Southern Italian pasta recipes I do know, this anchovy pasta recipe from Naples is without doubt one of the finest! Recognized domestically as spaghetti alla Gennaro, this recipe holds a particular place within the hearts of the Neapolitans as a result of it’s named after the town’s patron saint! Simple and easy to do, all you want is spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, stale bread, oregano, and basil to make this model of midnight pasta, also called Totò’s pasta.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)

Spaghetti alla Gennaro.

The Southern Italians are masters at making straightforward pasta recipes with only a few native elements. Spaghetti with tomato sauce, aglio e olio, and puttanesca are some that come to thoughts! Spaghetti alla Gennaro falls in the identical class.

With a handful of staple elements, you may have this conventional Neapolitan pasta dish on the desk very quickly. Nonetheless, this anchovy pasta recipe is greater than only a easy dish for the folks of Naples.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)

Firstly, this recipe is known as after the town’s principal patron saint. In line with Wikipedia, St. Gennaro, also called Janarius I of Benevento, was bishop of Benevento and a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church. Yearly, the Neapolitans collect 3 occasions in Naples Cathedral to witness the liquefaction of what’s stated to be the saint’s blood inside an ampoule!

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)

La ricetta di Totò ( Totò’s recipe).

I wasn’t capable of uncover why Neapolitans named this anchovy pasta after their patron saint. Nonetheless, that is the dish that’s historically eaten in Naples on St Gennaro’s feast day, September nineteenth.

Apparently, this recipe can be related to one of many metropolis’s most well-known sons; the actor, comic, screenwriter, singer and lyricist Totò. Totò, whose actual identify was Antonio Griffo Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno Porfirogenito Gagliardi de Curtis di Bisanzio, is taken into account one of the crucial sensible comedian actors of the 20th century.

Ingredients for spaghetti alla Gennaro on wood work surface
The first step Collect your elements; spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, basil, oregano, bread and olive oil.

Toto’s actress daughter Liliana de Curtis, who died earlier this 12 months, included the recipe for spaghetti alla Gennaro in her 2001 cookbook ‘Liver right here, liver there, fried liver and salt cod’, a group of recipes from her father’s kitchen.

Apparently, the actor was additionally a superb chef, who liked to cook dinner the recipes that his mom had taught him, and which he had written down with notes, jokes and comedian and critical recommendation in a pocket book that’s the foundation of his daughter’s assortment.

Pieces of anchovies in white bowl, Bread cubes on white plate and dried oregano in small white bowl.
Step 2 Put together the elements.

Anchovy pasta alla Gennaro or spaghetti alla Gennaro is a dish talked about a variety of occasions in a number of of Totò’s movies. For many Neapolitans, it’s THE recipe that involves thoughts after they consider his favorite pasta recipe. In reality, if you happen to search Italian websites for ‘Totò’s pasta’ the one search result’s this recipe, although the e book contains different pasta dishes.

Homemade fried croutons in skillet.
Step 3 Fry the croutons in olive oil and garlic till golden and crispy. Take away from the pan and put aside.

Midnight pasta.

Other than being named after the Naples’ patron saint and related to the comic Totò, this spaghetti with anchovies can be a favorite late evening ‘midnight’ pasta. Though outdoors of Italy aglio, olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil, and crimson chilli spaghetti) is commonly labelled as THE midnight pasta, right here in Italy there isn’t actually one recipe.

Pieces of anchovies and peeled garlic cloves in skillet with olive oil.
Step 4 Warmth extra olive oil after which add the remainder of the garlic cloves and items of anchovy.

In contrast to in lots of western cultures, late evening starvation or munchies isn’t happy by ordering takeaway in Italy. When Italians discover themselves up late with mates or household feeling hungry and maybe a bit worse for put on after an excessive amount of vino somebody will most likely say ‘ce li facciamo due spaghetti?’, that means lets make some spaghetti?

Pieces of anchovies melting in olive oil in skillet.
Step 5 Stir the anchovy within the scorching oil till it begins to soften.

For a lot of, midnight pasta is aglio olio e peperoncino however there’s no arduous and quick rule. My Sicilian hubby usually makes his extra like a puttanesca. He likes so as to add olives, anchovies, and generally dried tomatoes. Some folks add totally different herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary and many others. Others desire a canned tuna and tomato spaghetti or carbonara as their midnight meal. It’s all about what’s within the fridge or larder and what you are feeling like!

Dried oregano in pan with anchovies and garlic.
Step 6 Add the dried oregano.

This spaghetti with anchovies all Gennaro is one other favorite selection for late evening pasta or simply when there’s a necessity for a fast lunch or supper. The one further work on this recipe is selfmade croutons however since many Italians have ready-made croutons within the larder, making them your self isn’t needed. You too can use toasted breadcrumbs.

What sorts of anchovies are finest in pasta?

Most Italians have anchovies within the larder or fridge. Nonetheless, in Italy, anchovies are known as both ‘alici’ or ‘acciughe’. The previous could be recent anchovies or these which have been filleted and preserved in olive oil. The latter are these preserved in salt. However, they’re the identical kind of fish.

Spaghetti from pasta makers Di Martino in Gragnano.
Step 7 Prepare dinner the pasta al dente in keeping with the directions on the packet.

Relating to including anchovies to pasta the preferred sorts are anchovy fillets preserved in oil or these preserved in salt which have been completely rinsed to take away most the salt. My hubby likes the salted ones, I desire these in oil.

The superb factor about Italian anchovy pasta is that the anchovies really soften while you sauté them in olive oil together with the opposite most important elements like garlic and herbs.

Just cooked spaghetti added to skillet with anchovies, oregano and garlic.
Step 8 Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the anchovies together with a bit pasta cooking water.

Italians have lengthy recognized what cooks overseas have solely just lately found; anchovies don’t style fishy. When ‘melted’ in olive oil or a sauce they add a briny, savoury umami flavour to any dish they’re utilized in.

Are anchovies wholesome?

Anchovies are very nutritious and have many nutritional vitamins and minerals that present main well being advantages. They’re finest often known as a supply of Omega-3 fatty acids and are loaded with protein. As well as, anchovies are a superb supply of calcium, selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, potassium and vitamin A!

Cooked spaghetti mixed with anchovies, garlic and oregano in skillet.
Step 9. Combine the spaghetti and anchovy sauce collectively effectively.

For this spaghetti with anchovies, I used superb high quality anchovies from Cantabria. Even though you will get nice anchovies throughout Italy, these from Cantabrian Sea off the coast of Spain are thought-about one of the best on the earth! They usually actually are so good. Nonetheless, you need to use different sorts too, ideally these preserved in olive oil.

Different elements on this anchovy pasta from Naples.

As I discussed earlier than, spaghetti alla Gennaro is a straightforward dish made with a handful of elements. Other than the anchovies, all you want is garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, stale bread to make the croutons or breadcrumbs and, after all the spaghetti. Some folks additionally add peperoncino however I didn’t.

Fried bread croutons in skillet with spaghetti and anchovies.
Step 10. Add among the croutons to the anchovy pasta and blend collectively.

The pasta.

Spaghetti is the pasta of selection for this recipe, though I think about it may be made with linguine or vermicelli. The spaghetti I used was made by Di Martino considered one of my favorite pasta makers from Gragnano. The latter is a city close to Naples that’s well-known for pasta manufacturing. In reality, they’ve been producing dried pasta there for greater than 500 years.

spaghetti alla gennaro anchovy pasta from Naples in skillet ready to be served.
Lastly, add the remainder of the croutons and the recent basil to the anchovy pasta and serve instantly.

There are about 15 firms producing pasta with the Pasta di Gragnano IGP certification. IGP is an EU certification of origin that identifies a product made in a sure geographic space. Other than Di Martino; La Fabbrica della Pasta di Gragnano, Garofalo, Liguori, Gentile, Afeltra and Pastificio dei Campi are among the many Gragnano pastas I do know can be found outdoors of Italy.

Making spaghetti alla Gennaro.

It doesn’t take a lot time to have this anchovy pasta on the desk. So, step one is to place a pot of water on to boil for the pasta! Add salt as soon as it begins to boil and produce to the boil once more. Then it is advisable to peel the garlic and minimize the anchovies into small items. Lastly wash and pat dry the basil.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro) in oval white plate with fork.

The subsequent step is to make the croutons or toasted breadcrumbs. Rub the bread slices with a garlic clove after which minimize them into croutons or break into small items. You too can use a meals processor to show the bread into breadcrumbs. However, don’t mix them too effective.

Warmth some olive oil in a pan and fry the croutons or breadcrumbs till they’re barely brown. The breadcrumbs will likely be prepared quicker. Take away the bread and add some extra olive oil. As soon as this has heated add the remaining garlic cloves and anchovy items. Stir the anchovies till they soften into the oil.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro).

When the anchovies have melted, add the oregano and chilli pepper flakes (if utilizing). Prepare dinner for a minute and take away from the warmth till the spaghetti is prepared. Prepare dinner the spaghetti al dente, save a bit cooking water and drain it. If needed, reheat the anchovies and oregano after which take away the garlic and add the spaghetti with a bit cooking water.

Lastly, combine the spaghetti to coat it within the sauce after which add some croutons or breadcrumbs. Combine once more and add the remaining croutons and a few recent basil items. Serve instantly while nonetheless scorching.

Let me know what you suppose.

As you may think about, this anchovy pasta will not be solely tremendous easy but in addition tremendous scrumptious. It’s an ideal quick weeknight recipe in addition to a late-night dish or midnight pasta if you happen to ever need to feed sudden friends or family and friends who got here for lunch and are nonetheless there at supper time!  

If you happen to give this recipe a attempt, do let me know the way it seems, both by commenting beneath or on the Pasta Challenge Fb web page. And if you happen to really feel it’s value sharing with mates please do.

All of your suggestions and assist is way appreciated!

Buon Appetito!

anchovy pasta recipe from Naples

Anchovy pasta recipe from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)


This anchovy pasta recipe from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro) is simple and easy to make. All you want is spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, stale bread, oregano,and basil to make this model of midnight pasta, also called Totò’s pasta.

Prep Time 5 minutes

Prepare dinner Time 20 minutes

Course Primary Course

Delicacies Italian, Mediterranean, Neapolitan, Southern Italian

Servings 4

Energy 549 kcal


  • 12.5 oz spaghetti (360g)
  • 6-8 anchovy fillets these preserved in oil.
  • 4 slices semi-stale bread The perfect is nation or farmhouse bread.
  • 2-5 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 5 tbsp further virgin olive oil.
  • recent basil leaves washed and dried.


Put together elements

  • Peel the garlic cloves and minimize 1 in half. Lower the anchovy fillets into small items. wash and pat dry the basil leaves.

  • Put a pot of water onto boil for the spaghetti. Add salt as soon as it begins to boil and produce to the boil once more.

  • Rub the bread slices with the minimize garlic and minimize them into small cubes for croutons.

End and serve.

  • Prepare dinner the spaghetti al dente in keeping with the directions on the packet. Save a bit pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and add it to the recent anchovy sauce with a bit pasta cooking water (2-3 tbsps). The sauce could have to be reheated earlier than including the pasta.

  • Combine the spaghetti with the sauce after which add among the croutons. Combine once more after which add the remainder of the croutons and the recent basil torn or minimize into items. Serve instantly.


Spaghetti is the standard pasta for this recipe however linguine or vermicelli may very well be used too.
Some Italians add peperoncino flakes to this recipe. If you happen to’d love to do the identical add them with the oregano.
You need to use breadcrumbs (selfmade or retailer purchased) as a substitute of the croutons or ready-made croutons.

Key phrase anchovy pasta, midnight pasta, spaghetti with anchovies, Toto’s pasta

Different Italian ‘midnight pasta’ recipes to attempt.

  1. Aglio, olio e peperoncino.
  2. Spaghetti alla puttanesca.
  3. Genuine Italian carbonara.
  4. Tuna carbonara.
  5. Pasta alla gricia.
  6. Tuna Bolognese

If you have an interest in studying the right way to make selfmade pasta and various kinds of gnocchi, take a look at my store web page for some nice video on-line programs from my mates in Rome! Nothing beats studying to make pasta from Italians! Plus when you’re there why not order a duplicate of considered one of my pasta recipe cookbooks or checkout some really helpful pasta making instruments? They make nice prezzies for pasta lovers!

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