Aglio e olio simply means “garlic and oil,” but it’s the acciughe (anchovies) that are actually the main ingredient in this recipe. If you think you don’t like anchovies, you may be surprised. Once they break down into the warm oil, their flavor mellows and changes to less fishy and more like toasted, salted nuts.
Recipe by Rachael Ray
- About 2 cups cubed stale peasant-style bread
- About 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- Salt and pepper
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- 10 to 12 anchovy fillets
- 8 cloves (1 bulb) garlic, chopped or very thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 3 tbsp. capers, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, zested (about 1 1/2 tsp.) and juiced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°.
3. In a food processor, pulse the bread into coarse crumbs. In a bowl, dress the crumbs with about 2 tbsp. olive oil, then toss with the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Spread the crumbs out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden and crispy, about 15 minutes.
4. Lightly salt the pasta water (because you’re cooking with salty anchovies) and add the pasta. Cook until 2 minutes shy of the package directions.
5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium to medium-high. Add the anchovy fillets and cook, stirring and breaking them up with a wooden spoon, until they melt into the warm oil, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat a bit. Stir the garlic, crushed red pepper, capers, and lemon zest into the warm oil and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vermouth and swirl the pan for a minute. Reduce heat to medium-low.
6. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta and cooking water to the anchovy oil, along with the lemon juice and parsley. Toss the pasta until coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Season and top with the Pecorino breadcrumbs.