Pasta with anchovy, fried breadcrumbs, capers & sultanas

by Jenny Chandler

A sublime Sicilian combination of larder ingredients

You have all the elements of taste here—the salty-savoury anchovies, sweet sultanas, bitter capers and acidic lemon—which just make the pasta sing.


1 small onion, diced
7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
12 anchovy fillets
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp capers
A handful of sultanas
1 lemon, zest and juice
400-500g pasta (penne, linguine, spaghetti)
8 tbsp breadcrumbs


Fry the diced onion in 3 tsbp olive oil in a large pan, until softened. Add the garlic and the anchovy fillets, stirring to break down the anchovy and taking care not to burn the garlic.

Throw in the chilli flakes, capers, sultanas and lemon zest and continue to fry for 2 mins, before adding the lemon juice and another 2 tbsp olive oil. Taste for salt—there is probably plenty from the anchovies, but they do vary hugely.

Now boil your pasta in plenty of well-salted water until al dente, drain, leaving 2 tbsp water in the bottom of the pan to loosen the sauce.

Whilst the pasta is boiling, fry the breadcrumbs gently, over a low-medium flame in the remaining olive oil with a pinch of salt, until they are just beginning to turn golden and then tip them into a bowl.

Pour the drained pasta into the pan of anchovy sauce and toss well to cover, adding the pasta water if you think necessary, before serving up, sprinkled with the fried breadcrumbs.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler