Empty pantry spaghetti with anchovies, capers and black olives

Ciao, welcome back to my blog!

Today I am going to show how to make one of my save-dinner recipes: empty pantry spaghetti with anchovies, capers and black olives.

In Italian, this recipe is called "spaghetti alla povera", which is the easiest and quickest spaghetti pasta recipe you can ever find, all while being one of the tastiest and flavoursome pasta dishes you'll ever try.

The name "spaghetti alla povera" can be translated literally "spaghetti of the poor" because the sauce is made with a bunch of basic cupboard essentials that every good Italian always has.

There are 5 specific long-lasting emergency foods that Italians always store and I encourage you to do the same as they are true lifesavers:

1) Capers.

2) Anchovies.

3) Pitted olives.

4) Canned cannellini beans and chickpeas.

5) Canned tomatoes or tomato passata.

To know more about cupboards essentials read this brilliant article from Jamie Oliver: https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/store-cupboard-essentials-italian-ingredients/

We are going to use only 3 of them to make this delicious pasta dish and we are going to add some homemade breadcrumbs to make it even yummier!

Don't be scared, making homemade bread crumbs is super simple and it tastes so much nicer than the store-bought version that I promise you won't ever buy it again.

It is also a sustainable way of using bread leftovers instead of throwing away food, which I hate.

I can't stress enough about the importance of a good Italian pasta (such as De Cecco, Rummo or Barilla): with so few ingredients, the quality of the pasta has to be the best possible.

Please, do not buy cheap brands and always choose Italian brands as the texture, the resistance to the hot water and the final taste will be completely different!

I know I always write this in every single pasta post but I can't help it. I am not paid to advertise specific pasta brands but believe me, it really makes all the difference in the world.

Check out more of my pasta recipes:


pasta with anchovies, capers and black olives

Ingredients for two

300 gr spaghetti pasta

3 cloves of garlic

2 teaspoon of capers

2 tablespoons of black pitted olives

6 anchovies fillets

A slice or two of bread

A small bunch of thinly chopped parsley


Chilli flakes

Extra virgin olive oil

spaghetti with anchovies, capers and black olives
save-dinner pasta recipe

Start chopping the anchovies, the black olives and the garlic into small bits.

Toast the slices of bread and when they are golden, reduce them to thin crumbs using either a food processor or if you like me don't own one, place the crumbs in a food bag and crush it with a roller pin.

They don't need to be super fine though, we are not using it to deep fry.

Now put them in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil and let them brown for a couple of minutes until they become crunchier. Then set them aside and use the pan for the sauce.

In the meantime, bring to boil a pot of water for the pasta and then add some salt (a bit less than you normally would be enough as the sauce will have a high amount of salt already), let it melt and toss the spaghetti.

They usually cook in 10-12 minutes, we are going to let them simmer in the hot water only for 8 because we want them "al dente".

In the same pan of the breadcrumbs, drizzle generously of olive oil and put inside the olives, the garlic, the capers and the anchovies.

Add some chilli flakes and some chopped parsley to enhance the flavours of the canned ingredients and make them even more savoury.

After the pasta is almost ready, drain it and make sure of sparing a cup of pasta water.

Toss the pasta in the pan with our tasty sauce and add the pasta water little by little, stirring to allow the pasta to absorb the liquid.

It should take no more than a minute or two to mix well all the nice flavours, you can serve it.

Take a fork and grab some of the spaghetti from the pan and with the help of a ladle, twist it to obtain some sort of pretty knot.

Place it gently on your plate, add some of the sauce with a spoon and drizzle with some olive oil and the breadcrumbs we previously made to add a crunchy note to the dish.

Enjoy sipping a good glass of red wine!

anchovies, capers and black olives sauce for pasta

spaghetti with anchovies, capers and black olives recipe

spaghetti pasta with anchovies, capers and black olives

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Want more pasta recipes?

Check this out:

Super creamy smoked salmon spaghetti