Spaghettini with Anchovies, Parsley and Crisp Breadcrumbs

Inviting spaghettini, enhanced with anchovy fillets, fresh parsley and scatterings of crisp breadcrumbs. A perfect midweek seafood recipe from Rick Stein.

Introduction

This classic Sicilian recipe is a celebration of anchovies.

Serves 4
Easy

Ingredients

For the breadcrumbs:
4 fat garlic cloves, peeled
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
225g (8oz) white breadcrumbs, made from day-old white bread
8 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
4 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
For the sauce:
2 tbsp tomato purée
5 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
400g (14oz) dried spaghettini

Instructions

For the breadcrumbs, lightly crush the garlic under the blade of a large knife. Put the crushed cloves into a large frying pan with 5 tablespoons of the oil and place the pan over a medium heat. Fry the garlic until it just starts to colour, then remove and discard. Add the breadcrumbs to the oil and fry over a medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until crisp and golden. Spoon onto a plate and wipe the pan clean.

Chop the anchovy fillets. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, add the chopped anchovies and cook over a low heat, breaking them up a little with a wooden spoon, until they have dissolved into the oil. Return the breadcrumbs to the pan along with the parsley and a little seasoning, and stir well. Set aside and keep warm.

To make the sauce, mix the tomato purée with 2 tablespoons of hot water until smooth. Put the oil and garlic into a frying pan and place over a medium heat. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, add the tomato purée, anchovies and 175ml (6fl oz) water and leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 4.5 litres (714 pints) water to the boil in a large pan with 8 teaspoons of salt. Add the spaghettini and cook for 5–6 minutes or until al dente. Drain well, return to the pan, add the sauce and toss together well. Divide the spaghettini between four warmed serving bowls and sprinkle with some of the anchovy breadcrumbs. Serve the rest of the breadcrumbs separately.

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