Sicilian Pasta with Anchovies

This Sicilian staple is rich in flavor and texture. Umami, salty, and sweet, the crunchy texture of this savory pasta is delightful!
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Time 1 hr
Servings 4
Difficulty Easy





  • 1 tbsp Olive oil , extra virgin
  • ½ cup Breadcrumbs , Panko
  • To taste Salt


  • For pasta water Salt
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil , extra virgin
  • 1 small Yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic clove , thinly sliced
  • 10 fillets Anchovy fillet , packed in oil
  • ¼ cup Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Pasta water
  • ¾ lb Bucatini pasta, dried
  • 1 tbsp Pine nuts
  • For garnish Breadcrumbs , divided


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Season with salt. Set aside and allow to cool. 
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Wipe out skillet from step 1. Heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened about 5 minutes. Add anchovies and cook, stirring and breaking up anchovies occasionally with a wooden, until anchovies have dissolved, about 4 minutes. 
  • Add tomato paste, stir to combine with anchovy mixture. Continue to cook until mixture turns dark red and is very dry, about 2 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer 1 cup boiling water from pot to skillet to loosen tomato-anchovy mixture. Stir until it becomes homogenous and saucy. Reduce heat on skillet to lowest possible setting, to just keep sauce warm.
  • Add pasta to boiling water. Cool pasta until just softened and still uncooked in the center, about 3 minutes less than the package instructions. Transfer pasta to sauce, along with ½ cup pasta cooking water. 
  • Increase heat to high. Cook, stirring and tossing, until pasta is al dente and sauce coats noodles, about 2 minutes. Add pine nuts and breadcrumbs. Toss to combine. Remove from heat.
  • Divide pasta evenly between four serving bowls. Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs. Serve. 


  • Alternatively, you can use spaghetti noodles
  • If you prefer, you can make your own breadcrumbs
  • Additionally, you can add 1 tbsp golden raisins to sauce in step 5
  • Add additional pasta water in step 5, if needed. The pasta should be well-coated but not swimming in sauce. This pasta dish has a slightly drier consistency than most