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Recipe – Poor Man’s Pasta (Spaghetti Poveraccio)

The snow started falling on my way home tonight. We are bracing ourselves to wake up to a winter wonderland tomorrow and the sacred words ‘Snow Day’ were uttered in the staff room today…watch this space!

This recipe is one where you really will have to trust me that the ingredients do work well together! I have to admit that I was dubious when I saw several Italian recipes where they used breadcrumbs and pasta (carbfest!) but the addition of this ingredient adds a lovely crunch, flavour and texture which lifts the dish and makes it one of my new favourites.


I mentioned recently that I can’t seem to get enough fish at the moment so this recipe also ticks that box. I am not usually a huge fan of anchovies and find them a bit too ‘fishy’ but in this recipe, the anchovies are finely chopped and almost melt when you start cooking them meaning you never get a strong-tasting mouthful of fish but they just add a lovely saltiness and depth of flavour to the pasta.

Finally, please do use fresh parsley, not the dried variety, to add colour and vibrancy to your dish.

The below will make dinner for two people.


Enough spaghetti for two people

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 or 5 anchovy fillets in oil, chopped

1 chili, finely chopped or a pinch of dried chili flakes

1 piece of toast, whizzed up into breadcrumbs

A small handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper

A handful of Parmesan cheese

How to make it

  • Cook your pasta until al dente in boiling water
  • While your spaghetti is cooking, heat a good glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, anchovies and chili
  • Cook on a medium to low heat for about 5 minutes until the anchovies have almost melted, making sure the garlic does not burnanchovy3
  • In another frying pan, heat up another glug of olive oil and when hot, add the breadcrumbs and lightly fry until golden. I also seasoned the breadcrumbs with salt and pepperanchovy4
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the pan with the anchovies in
  • Tip over the breadcrumbs and add the fresh parsleyanchovy7
  • Mix well and serve
  • I finished mine off with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheeseanchovy9

This is simple Italian cooking, using only a few ingredients but with lots of flavour. I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely be making this again!


About hannahhotcakes

My name is Hannah. I live near Bath in a lovely village in the Cotswolds with my husband Ian, the love of my life for the past 10 years, in our dream cottage. I have landed my dream job as a primary school teacher and I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing. I am a self-confessed foodie and I love to cook, bake, and eat out as much as possible. Here are some things I love: My friends and family, travelling, fresh flowers, good books, having breakfast on my balcony, horror films, Christmas, tea, Las Vegas, lie-ins, red wine, Liverpool FC, music, sausage dogs, Spain, rare steak, fashion, cheese, American TV series and camping. And here are my pet hates: People dressed as animals, whistling, being rushed, being made to wait, girls who act stupid to impress a man, spiders, sunburn and rocket (it comes with EVERYTHING!)

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