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by Marisa Olsen

Spaghetti with Fennel,  Anchovies, & Other Good Stuff

Spaghetti with Fennel, Anchovies, & Other Good Stuff

Pasta with Fennel Anchovies and Other Good Stuff - GirlLovesFood - Marisa Olsen
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Like every winter, I have certain cravings. This year it’s pasta with anchovies and toasted bread crumbs, basically a pantry pasta that’s cooked al dente and finished in the skillet with the reserved cooking water. It’s the perfect dinner for me when Will is working late (like every night, ha) - it’s savory without being completely decadent. I like to use Whole Foods whole wheat spaghetti, which makes me feel like I’m healthy. I know it’s not for everyone, but I love the umami of anchovies and have even begun to add fish sauce (thanks, Melissa Clark).


In this rendition, I added fennel, thinking the sweet caramelized vegetable would play with the saltiness of the fish, while the toasted bread crumbs would provide a little crunch and texture. And of course, when you add cheese and some parsley and lemon zest, you basically have a perfect dish, in my humble opinion. I served with a Cannonau from Sardinia. I meant to make a big salad but got lazy. Hey, fennel is a vegetable! I hope you like it.


Spaghetti with Fennel, Anchovies, & Other Good Stuff
Serves two

1/3 cup bread crumbs or panko
1/2 pound spaghetti (I used whole wheat from Whole Foods)
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 anchovies
1/2 lemon zest and a few squeezes of lemon
fish sauce

In a skillet over medium low heat, toast the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, and reserve 1/2 cup of water.

While water is boiling, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the fennel, and saute for about 7-8 minutes or until softened and slightly caramelized. Add garlic and stir for a minute, careful not to let the garlic burn. Then add anchovies, breaking them down in the skillet.

Add al dente spaghetti into skillet. Then slowly add a few drops of reserved cooking liquid to keep pasta moist and stir for a 1-2 minutes. The spaghetti will continue to cook in the skillet. If spaghetti seems dry, add more water. Add breadcrumbs, lemon zest, some squeezes of lemon, parsley, a few drops of fish sauce, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy.

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