Anchovy Pasta Recipe from Naples – The Pasta Undertaking

Of all of the tremendous easy conventional Southern Italian pasta recipes I do know, this anchovy pasta recipe from Naples is among the greatest! Identified 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! Straightforward and easy to do, all you want is spaghetti, anchovies, garlic, stale bread, oregano, and basil to make this model of midnight pasta, also referred to as Totò’s pasta.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)

Spaghetti alla Gennaro.

The Southern Italians are masters at making straightforward pasta recipes with just some native components. 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 components, you’ll be able to 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 individuals of Naples.

Anchovy pasta from Naples (spaghetti alla Gennaro)

Firstly, this recipe is called after the town’s principal patron saint. In accordance with Wikipedia, St. Gennaro, also referred to as 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 mentioned 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 probably the most sensible comedian actors of the 20th century.

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

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

Apparently, the actor was additionally a superb chef, who beloved 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 components.

Anchovy pasta alla Gennaro or spaghetti alla Gennaro is a dish talked about various occasions in a number of of Totò’s movies. For many Neapolitans, it’s THE recipe that involves thoughts once they consider his favorite pasta recipe. In actual fact, in the event you search Italian websites for ‘Totò’s pasta’ the one search result’s this recipe, despite the fact that the ebook 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.

Aside from 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 exterior of Italy aglio, olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil, and pink 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.

Not like in lots of western cultures, late evening starvation or munchies isn’t glad by ordering takeaway in Italy. When Italians discover themselves up late with mates or household feeling hungry and maybe a little bit worse for put on after an excessive amount of vino somebody will most likely say ‘ce li facciamo due spaghetti?’, which 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 laborious 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 individuals add totally different herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary and so forth. Others favor 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’re 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 alternative for late evening pasta or simply when there’s a necessity for a fast lunch or supper. The one additional work on this recipe is selfmade croutons however since many Italians have ready-made croutons within the larder, making them your self isn’t crucial. You too can use toasted breadcrumbs.

What sorts of anchovies are greatest in pasta?

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

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

On the subject of including anchovies to pasta the preferred varieties 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 favor these in oil.

The wonderful factor about Italian anchovy pasta is that the anchovies really soften if you sauté them in olive oil together with the opposite most important components 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 little 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 greatest often called 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 the most effective on the earth! And so they actually are so good. Nonetheless, you should utilize different varieties too, ideally these preserved in olive oil.

Different components on this anchovy pasta from Naples.

As I discussed earlier than, spaghetti alla Gennaro is an easy dish made with a handful of components. Aside from the anchovies, all you want is garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, stale bread to make the croutons or breadcrumbs and, in fact the spaghetti. Some individuals additionally add peperoncino however I didn’t.

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

The pasta.

Spaghetti is the pasta of alternative for this recipe, though I think about it may be made with linguine or vermicelli. The spaghetti I used was made by Di Martino one among my favorite pasta makers from Gragnano. The latter is a city close to Naples that’s well-known for pasta manufacturing. In actual fact, 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 contemporary 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. Aside from 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 exterior 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’s good to peel the garlic and reduce 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 reduce 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 high quality.

Warmth some olive oil in a pan and fry the croutons or breadcrumbs till they’re barely brown. The breadcrumbs can be prepared sooner. 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 little bit cooking water and drain it. If crucial, reheat the anchovies and oregano after which take away the garlic and add the spaghetti with a little 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 contemporary basil items. Serve instantly while nonetheless scorching.

Let me know what you suppose.

As you’ll be able to think about, this anchovy pasta is just not solely tremendous easy but additionally tremendous scrumptious. It’s an ideal quick weeknight recipe in addition to a late-night dish or midnight pasta in the event you ever need to feed surprising company or family and friends who got here for lunch and are nonetheless there at time for supper!  

In case you give this recipe a strive, do let me know the way it seems, both by commenting beneath or on the Pasta Project Facebook web page. And in the event you really feel it’s value sharing with mates please do.

All of your suggestions and assist is far 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 referred to as Totò’s pasta.

Prep Time 5 minutes

Prepare dinner Time 20 minutes

Course Fundamental 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 One of the best is nation or farmhouse bread.
  • 2-5 garlic cloves peeled
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 5 tbsp additional virgin olive oil.
  • contemporary basil leaves washed and dried.


Put together components

  • Peel the garlic cloves and reduce 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 reduce garlic and reduce them into small cubes for croutons.

End and serve.

  • Prepare dinner the spaghetti al dente in accordance with the directions on the packet. Save a little bit pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and add it to the recent anchovy sauce with a little 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 a few of the croutons. Combine once more after which add the remainder of the croutons and the contemporary basil torn or reduce into items. Serve instantly.


Spaghetti is the normal pasta for this recipe however linguine or vermicelli may very well be used too.
Some Italians add peperoncino flakes to this recipe. In case you’d love to do the identical add them with the oregano.
You need to use breadcrumbs (selfmade or retailer purchased) as an alternative 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 strive.

  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 find out how 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 whilst you’re there why not order a replica of one among my pasta recipe cookbooks or checkout some really useful pasta making instruments? They make nice prezzies for pasta lovers!

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