For a fast, flavorful sauce, save that pasta water.
Spaghetti with Lemon, Anchovies, and Capers

Spaghetti with Lemon, Anchovies, and Capers

30 min 15 min active

4 servings

We usually just dump it down the drain, but Lidia Bastianich reminds us that the water we cook our pasta in is worth saving. She uses the starchy water to thicken flavorful sauces from strong pantry staples — anchovies, capers, garlic, lemon and red pepper flakes — to make a fast pasta sauce for this weeknight recipe. “You pull out pasta and some kind of basic, intense ingredients,” she says. “Some anchovies. Some olives. Some capers. Of course some good olive oil. You have dinner for four in less than half an hour.”

Ingredients

  • 12

    ounces spaghetti

  • ¼

    cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 6

    garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • ¾

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 2

    -ounce can anchovies, drained and minced

  • 3

    tablespoons drained capers, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons caper brine

  • 3

    tablespoons lemon juice, plus 2 teaspoons lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

  • ¾

    cup minced fresh parsley

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    ounces grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

Spaghetti with Lemon, Anchovies, and Capers

Get Ready to Cook

4

servings

30 min

15 min active

Tip

Don’t salt the pasta water as much as usual; the other ingredients provide plenty of salt. One tablespoon kosher salt for 4 quarts of water worked for this recipe.​

Ingredients

  • 12

    ounces spaghetti

  • ¼

    cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 6

    garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • ¾

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 2

    -ounce can anchovies, drained and minced

  • 3

    tablespoons drained capers, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons caper brine

  • 3

    tablespoons lemon juice, plus 2 teaspoons lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

  • ¾

    cup minced fresh parsley

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    ounces grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

Step 1 of 3

Cook the pasta

12
ounces spaghetti

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just tender but not fully cooked, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain.

Step 2 of 3

Prepare the sauce and combine

¼
cup extra-virgin olive oil
6
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¾
teaspoon red pepper flakes
2
-ounce can anchovies, drained and minced
3
tablespoons drained capers, chopped

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes, anchovies and capers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water and bring to simmer.


Add the pasta and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 3 of 3

Season and serve

3
tablespoons lemon juice
2
teaspoons lemon zest
2
tablespoons caper brine
¾
cup minced fresh parsley
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2
ounces grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, grated

Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and zest, the caper brine and parsley. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with Parmesan or pecorino.

Milk Street Bowtie Logo

Done!

Did you enjoy this recipe?

Still hungry?

See more recipes