Pasta with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs (Pasta c’anciova e muddica)

This easy Sicilian pasta has become a weekday favorite in the house – incredibly easy and simple to make. Don’t let the anchovies scare you away!! The salty taste mellows beautifully against the earthiness of the whole wheat pasta.  The end result is downright delicious thanks to the garlic and anchovies. The breadcrumbs add a wonderful texture to the dish. Serve with a crisp white or light red and smile.  Enjoy!!

Pasta with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs (Pasta c’anciova e muddica)


For the breadcrumbs:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the pasta:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 (2 ounce) cans of anchovies, drained and roughly chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Freshly grated parmigiano, to taste

1 pound of whole wheat pasta


1 large skillet to hold the anchovy sauce, 1 large pot to cook the pasta


  1. Toast the breadcrumbs:  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until hot.  Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until a deep golden color – about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer bread crumbs to a dish and wipe out the skillet.
  2. Prepare the sauce:  Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in same skillet over medium low heat until warm. Add the chopped anchovies and mash until they start to dissolve in the oil (a wooden spoon works well).
  3. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft, stirring frequently.  Add the red pepper flakes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions (until al dente).  Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water then drain the pasta.
  5. Add the pasta water to the anchovy sauce.
  6. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Add about 1/2 of the bread crumbs and the chopped parsley. Stir to blend.
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese and remaining breadcrumbs over pasta before serving. Enjoy!

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