Pasta with Anchovies and Arugula Recipe

Pasta with Anchovies and Arugula

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Pasta con Rucola e Acciughe is one of my favorite recipes for a quick and tasty dinner. If you have no inspiration after a hard day in the office – this dish always works.


  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 10-15 anchovy fillets in olive oil, rinse under running water and dry with a paper towel
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, finely slivered
  • 12 oz (360 g) spaghetti, tagliatelle or linguine
  • 4 cups (225 g) arugula (rocket), washed and dried, pinch off the thick stems
  • 1 cup (240 ml) reserved pasta cooking liquid
  • red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

“Rucola” in Italy, “Arugula” in the States and “Rocket” in Britain has a slightly peppery bite with a touch of walnut. Arugula (Rocket) should best be added to a dish just before the cooking time ends. It will wilt a bit with the heat, but still retains some of its crunchiness.


Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add salt. 

Warm 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add slivered garlic and the anchovies. When garlic starts to sizzle and the anchovies start to melt, lower the heat to the lowest setting, keeping it just barely warm. 

Cook the pasta according to instructions until it is “al dente”. Reserve 1 cup (240 ml) of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and return it to the saucepan over low heat. Add the anchovy-garlic sauce to the pasta along with enough reserved cooking liquid to make a smooth sauce. Add cooking liquid little by little. Stir it. Keep saucepan over low heat and add the arugula/rocket. Stir gently until the arugula/rocket is barely wilted. 

Warm plates and divide pasta between the 4 plates. Spice it up with a pinch or more of red pepper flakes. Drizzle some extra olive oil and Parmesan cheese on top if desired.

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