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Pasta with anchovy

Pragmatic recipe
pasta with anchovies, aka pasta with anchovy

Pasta c'anciova

Pasta with anchovy is monumental and yet invisible. Everybody knows it, nobody eats it. Praised and despised, adored and belittled. Welcome to Palermo. An easy dish with extremely popular roots, able to convince the pickiest eaters.
  • Prep Time 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time 25 Minutes
  • Total Time 35 Minutes
  • Serves 4 People
  • Calories 325 kcal


  • 400 grams of pasta (bucatini/margherite)
  • 200 grams of tomato paste (concentrato)
  • 120 grams of bread crumbs
  • 10 anchovy fillets/50 g of anchovy paste)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 30 grams of black raisins
  • olive oil


  1. Fry the finely chopped onion in oil till tender
  2. Add the anchovy fillets and garlic
  3. Add the tomato paste, raisins and the cup of water they soaked in
  4. Let it simmer for about twenty minutes, on a low fire.
  5. Roast the bread crumbs in a pan with oil, till nutty brown
  6. Toast the bread crumb in a pan with olive oil
  7. Drain the al dente boiled pasta, saving a cup of the water
  8. Add half of the sauce to the pasta, mixing thoroughly
  9. Ladle the rest of the sauce over the single portions
  10. Top off with the toasted bread crumbs


Pasta with anchovy, c'anciova (pasta kan-chioh-vah) is probably Palermo's most emblematic dish. Without knowing nor caring for that title. It's uncouth, it's simple. Yet it is savoury and smooth. It is a dish that unites contrasts. Very much as the city of Palermo does. As Sicily does.There are plenty of variations, all acceptable as well as deplorable. Some leave the garlic out, some add pine nuts. Some use tomato sauce. And the ubiquitous chili pepper finds its way to the dish. What to drink with this pasta and anchovy? Even sulphuric acid would pair well. We'd advice something less extreme. As in other pasta preparations, use the water pasta boils in. It helps to cream up the final result.

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