The Kid Who Loved Anchovies

When I was a kid of 8 or 10 or 12 (or something in that undefinable range), pizza was a Friday night treat. My dad and I (and often a sister or two), would pull in behind a nondescript grey building with a vaguely pizza-shaped sign hanging off the front. I never actually saw the inside of this pizza place; I preferred to hang out in the back of the minivan, count how many dumpsters rusted behind the building, and await the arrival of our pizza.

And when the pizza arrived — oh, the aroma! Tomatoes and cheese and herbs and … fish?

That’s right, dear reader. My favorite pizza ingredient when I was a kid: anchovies. Something about that pungent, salty (and calcium-rich!) pizza topping had me saying “yes, please!”. Only replace the word “please” with “immediately”. I would gobble down several slices of pizza with about a quart of milk.

Did I tell you my bone density ranks well above the average person my age?

I love anchovies to this day. Peter … not so much. He’s more the canned tuna with mayo type.

I decided to take a risk and make this pasta Puttanesca dish, where anchovies are a star ingredient, THEN see what Peter thought of it. He was making butternut squash soup with bacon anyway, so he had a backup.

At least, that’s what I told myself.

Served over wilted spinach:

I Love Anchovies Pasta Puttanesca

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 10 minutes

  Keywords: stir-fry entree nut-free soy-free sugar-free pasta

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 1 lb long pasta of choice (e.g. spaghetti, linguini), uncooked
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 anchovies, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (My favorite is Urfa. Vary amount based on your spice love.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28 oz chopped tomatoes, boxed
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cups basil, chopped


Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta boils, cook garlic, anchovy, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp pepper in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes, until pale golden and fragrant.

Add tomatoes, olives, and capers to garlic oil and simmer until pasta is ready. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Sprinkle with basil and serve immediately.

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This pasta dish satisfied even MY cravings for anchovies. Better still, Peter loved it!

At least, that’s what he told me. Maybe I shouldn’t have been holding a butcher knife over his head as he ate.

Q: Have you ever had anchovies?


  1. I never really ate anchovies before going to Korea, and there I ate a LOT of them. They’re a popular side dish and also go in a lot of soups and stews and things and I absolutely loved them. I’ve never tried butternut squash soup with bacon before, that sounds delicious too!

    1. I wish they were as popular here 😉

  2. I had no idea these were so healthy. I have always loved them – not straight up – but in recipes like this – and I love a great salty flavourful puttanesca!

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