Sauce recipes for spaghetti: Olives, tomatoes, capers, and anchovies?!

As a child of the 1980s, I grew up knowing certain things: Megatron had to be stopped no matter the cost.  Zack Morris could not be trusted.  If one were to be gagged, it should be with a spoon.  I was also taught by cartoons that anchovies were evil and should never be eaten.  They should definitely never appear in sauce recipes for spaghetti, pizza or anything else.  Ever.

As an adult, though, I have to admit that anchovies aren’t bad.  While I would never put them on a pizza or anything like that, I do like hiding them in olive oil-based sauce recipes for spaghetti because I think they bring an umami saltiness you don’t get from anything else.  I know it sounds weird, but try this puttanesca-inspired sauce recipe for spaghetti and let me know what you think about anchovies.

You will need:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (not-extra virgin if possible)
  • 3 anchovy filets
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives (black, green, kalamata or a combination)
  • 2 tomato, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 4 cups cooked spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin if possible)
  1. Pour the non-extra virgin olive oil into a skillet over medium-high heat.  We want to use non-extra virgin olive oil so that it does not burn. If you only have extra virgin olive oil, try setting your heat to medium.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the filets and break them up with your wooden spoon, spatula, etc. and the garlic.
  3. The filets will dissolve after a few minutes of cooking, then add the olives, tomatoes, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Cook the tomatoes until they are just warm.  You want big chunks of tomato.  You are not looking for marinara.
  5. Stir in the pasta, letting the sauce coat it.
  6. Add the capers and let them get warm, then add as much of the extra virgin olive as you want for flavor and to make sure the sauce is as wet as you want.
  7. Optionally cover with Parmesan cheese.


Leave a Reply