My friend Tommy Abatemarco reminded me of this dish the other day. I have not had this in a long time, spaghetti with garlic and oil and anchovies with toasted breadcrumbs. Man! This takes me back to Christmas Eve in Brooklyn. This is also the kind of dish you make at midnight when you’re hanging out with your friends and need something to eat. It’s always ready, available and quick. And it’s delicious!
A while back while visiting in Calabria, we were all up late drinking wine and talking and just enjoying the company of friends and family. And then I heard someone shout, “Pasta Aglio Olio e Alici”! And in no time the lady of the house was boiling the water for the spaghetti and preparing a simple but delicious dish. It’s something you can make at a moments notice, and usually do.
Every Italian pantry should have spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, anchovies and breadcrumbs. These are the ingredients that make up one of the most satisfying, most tasty macaroni dishes you can eat.
Spaghetti con Aglio Olio e Alici
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 anchovies fillets
- 1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
- 1 pound spaghetti
- grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Fill a large 6 quart pot with water and bring to a boil. Generously salt the water with a tablespoon of salt. Add the spaghetti.
While the spaghetti is cooking, in a medium frying pan heat over medium flame the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add two of the anchovy fillets and cook till the anchovies melt into the oil, breaking apart with your spoon. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes just until the garlic starts to brown. Add 2 cups of the salted pasta water to the garlic and oil and reduce the flame to low and simmer.
In a small frying pan over medium heat add the three tablespoons of olive oil. Add the other two anchovy fillets to the pan and cook till the anchovies melt into the oil, breaking them up with your spoon. Add the cup of Italian flavored bread crumbs and mix well so you absorb all the anchovy flavored oil and toast lightly. Be careful not to burn the bread crumbs, but lightly toast them. Remove from the heat.
Once the pasta is cooked reserve another cup of pasta water and drain the pasta well. Place the pasta back in the large pot and add the garlic and oil mixture over the pasta and mix well. If the pasta is too dry add more of the pasta water.
Plate the pasta into individual bowls, one pound pasta should serve 4 people, and sprinkle about a quarter cup of the bread crumb mixture over the spaghetti. Serve immediately with plenty of grated cheese.