Pasta with tomato and anchovy butter sauce is a classic Italian pasta dish that will please everyone. This tomato and anchovy pasta is made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, butter, and anchovies. The end result is a buttery delicious lightly flavored anchovy pasta that is ready in under 30 minutes.
This simple tomato sauce recipe with anchovies and butter is quick to make for an easy dinner yet nice enough to serve to guests. Most of the ingredients are pantry items so you can stock up for a last-minute quick meal.
The one really simple ingredient of anchovies really elevates the flavors of a simple pasta dish. There are not too many anchovies in the recipe, but just enough to give the sauce a wonderful briny depth of flavor.
Ingredients for the pasta with anchovies:
- Unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- Anchovy filets (1-2 is all you need)
- Fresh tomatoes
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- Spaghetti. I prefer spaghetti but you can also use a bucatini or any other pasta that you have on hand.
If you do not have anchovy filets, capers make a great substitute. Both have a delicious briny flavor and can be used interchangeably.
Anchovy filets can be found in any local grocery store in the canned food section. They come in small cans or jars and are either packed in oil or water. They have a very long shelf life and making them a great pantry staple to have on hand.
How to make
Here are the steps to making this easy anchovy pasta:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil: for your pasta. Cook spaghetti until it is al dente.
- Heat your butter and olive oil: in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Saute garlic in the butter and olive oil.
- Add your tomatoes
- Add anchovy filets: Cook the anchovy filets for a few minutes so they break down and infuse into the sauce.
- Add your pasta to the sauce: along with some reserved pasta water and turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
- Toss: for about 2 minutes.
- Add in your herbs
- Add freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!
This tomato and anchovy pasta is all about being simple and using up those pantry ingredients. Here are some ways I like to change up the recipe to use up what I have in my house:
- Swap out capers for the anchovies. If you love this recipe but don't have anchovies on hand, using capers is such a great way to get that delicious briny flavor that you would find in anchovies.
- Use diced canned tomatoes. If you are out of fresh tomatoes, diced canned tomatoes make a wonderful substitute.
When making this recipe, it is important to remember to scoop out a giant mug full of pasta water before you drain the cooked pasta. This pasta water is full of delicious starch and salt that will help build the sauce up later.
The pasta water also allows you to stop the pasta from drying out once you add it to the sauce. The pasta will always continue to drink up liquids and if the sauce has nothing left then you would be left with a dry pasta.
More quick pasta recipes
- Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- Spaghetti with Pork Bolognese
- Pasta with Chickpeas and Lemon
- Brussels Sprouts Pasta
- Pesto Pasta
Pasta with Tomato Anchovy Butter Sauce
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- 1 lb spaghetti 1 box
- 4 tablespoon ½ stick unsalted butter
- 4 medium tomatoes diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 anchovy fillets drained. If you really like anchovies add 3-4 fillets.
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon Chopped tender herbs I like Italian flat-leaf parsley
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Cook spaghetti according to the box instructions for al dente1 lb spaghetti
- Meanwhile, heat your butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.4 tablespoon ½ stick unsalted butter, 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Cook your garlic, until soft, about 3-4 minutes.4 garlic cloves
- Add your tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8–10 minutes.4 medium tomatoes, ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Add anchovies depending on the pasta you are making.2 anchovy fillets
- At this point, check your pasta and then drain when ready, making sure to reserve about ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.
- Add your pasta to the saute pan with sauce and also add ½ of your reserved pasta water and turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
- Cook until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes.
- Check to see if pasta looks dry. If all the sauce was absorbed, add a little more of the reserved pasta water.
- Toss in your herbs.2 tablespoon Chopped tender herbs
- Add freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!Freshly grated Parmesan for serving
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here