Anchovy Pasta with Garlic, Lemon and Arugula

Don’t be worried that this simple dish will be overpowered by the strong flavor of anchovies. It packs a powerful flavor punch. But not in a fishy way. The anchovies are present but not overwhelming. The addition of olive oil, lemon and herbs helps to balance their flavor so the anchovies are in the background, playing a welcomed savory, umami role. Dinner does not get easier. Pair this pasta with some steamed veggies and a leafy green salad for a delightfully fast weeknight meal.

Anchovy Pasta with Garlic, Lemon and Arugula


16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or finely shaved on a microplane

12 oil-packed anchovy filets, drained

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Zest of 1 lemon, then cut lemon into wedges

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups arugula, lightly chopped

Garnish with lemon wedges


  1. Cook spaghetti, al dente, according to directions on package.
  2. While pasta is cooking, in a 12″ skillet, add olive oil and garlic. Heat over medium heat until garlic is golden (be careful not to burn the garlic) about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add anchovy filets, red pepper flakes, zest of lemon, and black pepper. Reduce heat to low, breaking up the anchovies, cook for 2-3 minutes to form a sauce.
  4. Remove skillet from the heat. When the pasta is finished cooking, with tongs, lift the cooked pasta directly from the cooking water and add the pasta to the skillet. Add the arugula. Toss the pasta with the sauce to coat the pasta. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, lemon wedge and additional black pepper and salt if desired.

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