Spaghetti with Tomato, White Anchovy & Olives

I wasn’t planning to write another love letter about Italy so soon after the Roman steak tartare, but then this pasta happened.

So off we go!  We’re heading south, gonna’ get coastal.

Spaghetti with Tomato, White Anchovy & Olives

It was an accident, really, this pasta.  The ingredients and idea assembled themselves; we didn’t set out to recreate a specific dish.  My gardener friend brought me the season’s last bag of ripe tomatoes and I made the mistake of taking Matt to the grocery store, where he insisted we buy white anchovies.  I didn’t realize until we sat down and started eating just how transportingly Italian it was going to taste.

This could be a really quick recipe, I dare say 30 minutes if you use dry spaghetti and canned tomatoes.  Matt and I have been itching to crank out some fresh pasta and I had the ripe, red tomatoes so we opted for the scenic route.

Divide and conquer.  Matt’ll mix the pasta dough, I’ll get the sauce going.








Don’t cry when your well breaks, you’ll recover.

Peel, core, crush tomatoes.





Let’s start building flavor.  Promise me you won’t skip the anchovies.





Let your sauce simmer while you tackle pasta cutting as a team.





Fun.  Now let’s finish the sauce.  Olives, capers, herbs.  Taste, season.  Almost there!

Ready?  Let’s eat.

And suddenly, we’re back in Italy, feasting and having fun.  All because of a couple tomatoes and some white anchovies.  The best happy accident in months.

Spaghetti with Tomato, White Anchovy & Olives

Spaghetti with Tomato, White Anchovy & Olives
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • Spaghetti (recipe for homemade follows or use 1 box dry spaghetti)
  • 2 c. Crushed Tomatoes (use canned if tomatoes are out of season)
  • 1 medium White Onion, halved
  • 4 cloves Garlic, bruised
  • 8 White Anchovies, divided
  • ½ c. Black Olives (I used nicoise olives), chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Capers, chopped
  • Fresh Oregano
  • Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion halves, bruised garlic, and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes.
  3. Saute until onion and garlic start taking on color (don't let garlic burn).
  4. Add tomatoes, season, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add 4 chopped white anchovies.
  5. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, remove onions and garlic, add olives and capers, and continue to simmer (about 5 more minutes) until flavors blend, adjusting seasoning as needed.
  6. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti "al dente" and add directly to sauce.
  7. Sprinkle in some fresh oregano and chopped parsley. Divide among warm plates, drizzzle with additional olive oil, and garnish with an anchovy.

Semolina Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes 1 pound of pasta. Serves 4 as a main course, 6-8 as a first course
Serves: 4-8
  • 1 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semolina Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¼ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Cold Water, as needed
  1. Combine flours and mound on clean work surface.
  2. Create a well in center of mound, add eggs and pinch of salt.
  3. Carefully beat eggs with a fork, slowly bringing in flour, adding water as needed.
  4. When you have incorporated enough liquid to create a rough ball, knead the dough for a couple minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll rested dough and cut into desired shape.
  6. Cook in plenty of salted, boiling water. Pasta is ready when it floats to the top.

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